Book Jacket

 

rank 5350
word count 24364
date submitted 05.03.2010
date updated 07.03.2010
genres: Chick Lit, Romance, Young Adult, Co...
classification: universal
incomplete

A Red Cadillac for Mama

James Raymond Dunn

What do you give to your mother to repay her for the unbearable pain of childbirth? In my case, a shiny red Cadillac convertible.

 

Montreal. 1953. For my dad Bobby, it was one of those rare times in history when everything seemed not only possible, but downright probable. For my mom Billie Jean, the outlook was not quite so rosy. With three babies to care for, and a philandering, absent husband, she was embarking on a life chock-full of wanting, needing and working. But wait! If she could only win that brand new shiny red Cadillac convertible, she was absolutely sure that everything in life was going to turn out just fine.

 
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tags

, 1950s, a red cadillac for mama, cadillac, great canadian novel, montreal, pei, single mom, toronto

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42 comments

 

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Aimee Fry wrote 1503 days ago

Very well written with an amusing opening. I enjoyed reading this, BACKED! The only thing i'd say is that maybe the first chapter is a bit long?

Aimee
His Pride, Her Prejudice

Melcom wrote 1504 days ago

A lovely gentle read for a change, so much better than some of the books I've read this week.

Witty in parts that make it an excellent read.

Happily shelved

Melxx
Impeding Justice

Phyllis Burton wrote 1504 days ago

Hello James, I like this story, right from the first sentence, which gave me a clue as to what to expect from the rest of the story. Also I love the thought of a child trying to get a Cadillac for his mother.
My only slight criticism would be that there is not enough dialogue: this will bring it even more to life I believe. Well done and I hope that this does well and it is now going on my SHELF. Good luck.

Phyllis
A Passing Storm (Would you take a look at this for me please?)

Jared wrote 1508 days ago

James, this is a delightful period piece with characters that leap of the page (screen). I love your gentle touch and incisive sense of humour. Oh, and you write beautifully. It's so rewarding to read a book like this after a recent diet of vampires, dragons and misery. I'm pleased to back this.
Jared (Mummy's Boy)

SusieGulick wrote 1500 days ago

I love your book, James. :)Thanks for your story. Hope you'll read mine, He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not & my unedited version, Tell Me True Love Stories of He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not.
Please back my books.Thanks, Susie :)

Aimee Fry wrote 1503 days ago

Very well written with an amusing opening. I enjoyed reading this, BACKED! The only thing i'd say is that maybe the first chapter is a bit long?

Aimee
His Pride, Her Prejudice

MiniMePom wrote 1503 days ago

Wonderful characterization of Billie Jean. The prose flows along beautifully, too. Backed.

Phyllis Burton wrote 1504 days ago

Hello James, I like this story, right from the first sentence, which gave me a clue as to what to expect from the rest of the story. Also I love the thought of a child trying to get a Cadillac for his mother.
My only slight criticism would be that there is not enough dialogue: this will bring it even more to life I believe. Well done and I hope that this does well and it is now going on my SHELF. Good luck.

Phyllis
A Passing Storm (Would you take a look at this for me please?)

Melcom wrote 1504 days ago

A lovely gentle read for a change, so much better than some of the books I've read this week.

Witty in parts that make it an excellent read.

Happily shelved

Melxx
Impeding Justice

Francesco wrote 1506 days ago

Thanks to some very perceptive criticisms on this site (thank you Authonomites!) I am, at present, in the process of a major rewrite and don't have time for individualized comments.
If you are reading this it means I have read the first couple of chapters of your book and think it is worthy of my support. My training is in the visual arts so I can't really help with the 'nuts & bolts' but if you would like to know what I really liked about your work, just send me a message and as soon as I can I will get back to you.
A look at Sicilian Shadows would be greatly appreciated.
Frank.
If you back my work, you may also want to approach BJD (a big supporter of my work) for a further read of your book.

jamesrdunn wrote 1506 days ago

Thanks for the suggestions. Happy to have you back my book, and I will go read yours after work tonight. regards, james

This is a very attractive story, and strong writing, that reads like a memoir cum fiction. Your first sentence is a real winner and your portrait of the missing father, Bobby is rendered with suggestive bits that require no elaboration. When you describe Billie Jean, however, as prone "to misadventures of the flesh," yet needing instruction from prostitutes before she will bear Bobby's child, I'm somewhat confused.

Will be happy to back this if you'll have a look at mine.

bonalibro wrote 1506 days ago

This is a very attractive story, and strong writing, that reads like a memoir cum fiction. Your first sentence is a real winner and your portrait of the missing father, Bobby is rendered with suggestive bits that require no elaboration. When you describe Billie Jean, however, as prone "to misadventures of the flesh," yet needing instruction from prostitutes before she will bear Bobby's child, I'm somewhat confused.

Will be happy to back this if you'll have a look at mine.

jamesrdunn wrote 1506 days ago

Andy, thanks for the suggestions. I'm definitely going to try a little dialogue and see how it sits within the scenes. james

James, a compelling read with a fine cadence. i don't always fall for 1st person narration but i like this one.
on my shelf.
when i like something i read with a picky eye. here's a few VERY minor thoughts that may strike a chord.
"... PEI, a pastoral, bland little hamlet." - yeah, PEI can be very bland (my mum's from there), but i wouldn't call the island itself a hamlet. maybe give the name of the actual hamlet or village?
do you need "suddenly" in "The pregnancy suddenly gave ..." ?
on a macro level, would it make sense to add a few sections of dialog to the MC's narration? e..g., to underscore certain scenes?
all in all, nice one!
best, andy

jamesrdunn wrote 1506 days ago

Andy, thanks for the suggestions. I'm definitely going to try a little dialogue and see how it sits within the scenes. james

James, a compelling read with a fine cadence. i don't always fall for 1st person narration but i like this one.
on my shelf.
when i like something i read with a picky eye. here's a few VERY minor thoughts that may strike a chord.
"... PEI, a pastoral, bland little hamlet." - yeah, PEI can be very bland (my mum's from there), but i wouldn't call the island itself a hamlet. maybe give the name of the actual hamlet or village?
do you need "suddenly" in "The pregnancy suddenly gave ..." ?
on a macro level, would it make sense to add a few sections of dialog to the MC's narration? e..g., to underscore certain scenes?
all in all, nice one!
best, andy

Andy M. Potter wrote 1506 days ago

James, a compelling read with a fine cadence. i don't always fall for 1st person narration but i like this one.
on my shelf.
when i like something i read with a picky eye. here's a few VERY minor thoughts that may strike a chord.
"... PEI, a pastoral, bland little hamlet." - yeah, PEI can be very bland (my mum's from there), but i wouldn't call the island itself a hamlet. maybe give the name of the actual hamlet or village?
do you need "suddenly" in "The pregnancy suddenly gave ..." ?
on a macro level, would it make sense to add a few sections of dialog to the MC's narration? e..g., to underscore certain scenes?
all in all, nice one!
best, andy

Famlavan wrote 1507 days ago

I like your short pitch.

Your opening sentence sets this up so well. This is a great observantly written storyline, nothing dramatic, demonised or disaster, just a great warm humorous story
fantastically told – Good luck

Maggie P wrote 1507 days ago

Hi, this is a neatly written story that takes the reader on a gentle, amusing ride, well done.Maggie P.

Jared wrote 1508 days ago

James, this is a delightful period piece with characters that leap of the page (screen). I love your gentle touch and incisive sense of humour. Oh, and you write beautifully. It's so rewarding to read a book like this after a recent diet of vampires, dragons and misery. I'm pleased to back this.
Jared (Mummy's Boy)

dave_ancon wrote 1508 days ago

Very well done. On my shelf. Dave

jfredlee wrote 1508 days ago

Is this a memoir or a piece of fiction? Either way, the story is delightful and your characters are both irresistible and irrepressible.

Great writing.

And I'm very pleased to back this.

Best of luck here.

-Jeff Lee
THE LADIES TEMPERANCE CLUB'S FAREWELL TOUR

JLPenn wrote 1509 days ago

I knew I was going to back this when I read "prone to misadventures of the flesh" - I love that! It's clear, concise, eloquent - everything that good writing should be and it's clear within seconds that you are a good writer. If your story is half as good as your writing talent, you're golden.

Dogeared wrote 1509 days ago

I've just read the first two chapters. I love the easy-going humor of the narrative voice. No angry child, the son's voice is strong, clear, loyal and very loving. His insight is of a mother admired and accepted. The premise of a promise of a cherry-red caddy somewhere down the road pulls me in. I'm hooked.

I'm only at the second chapter, yet I feel like I've been through a lot here. And I mean that in a good way. Your pace is perfect for me and your skill at giving background and context is singular. The narrator's observations and wise humor sometimes pops up for a moment and then recedes to carry on with the good story. You've a unique voice and I am rather enjoying it!

I'll shelve this. Good luck on your Authonomy journey.

Gerry

Joss64 wrote 1509 days ago

Backed with pleasure! Jocelyn Morris (A Bore No More)

gillyflower wrote 1509 days ago

This is a great story. Billie Jean is a vividly drawn person whom we at once love and find easy to relate to. We feel sympathy for her in the relationship with Bobby, who let her down badly not once but twice; and her dream of the red Cadillac, which she hoped to win by having the first baby born in 1954, unsuccessful because the baby wasn't born quite soon enough, is funny and moving at the same time. Your decision when you first heard that story, to buy your mother a red Cadillac when you grew up, is sweet, amusing and interesting. Your style is fast moving and absorbing; and you hook us in with your fascinating stories about Billie Jean, which are full of humour and excitement. Backed.
Gerry McCullough,
Belfast Girls.

Colin Normanshaw wrote 1509 days ago

Delightfully told. Great dialogue and scene description. Just beware of some sentences being too long with an over-use of commas. But a good edit will sort this out. Backed with pleasure. Colin

Burgio wrote 1509 days ago

I like this kind of book about everyday people: no international spies, no aliens, no vampires - just everyday people caught in everyday circumstances. The wish for a red convertible will resonate with a lot of readers (including me). Backed.

Alecia Stone wrote 1509 days ago

Hi James,

I’ve already shelved the book but have returned to leave a comment.

This was an enjoyable read. I was a little thrown off by the back and forth switch between first and third person narrative, I must say. The pacing was good and the story was easy to read.

Dreamcar should be dream car.

I think it needs a little polishing but your characters are rather colourful and I did like the subtle humour.

Shinzy :)

Bill Carrigan wrote 1510 days ago

Hi James,

Many thanks for backing The Doctor of Summitville." And once again I urge you to dramatize the intense emotional scenes your first chapter evokes.

Bill

Bill Carrigan wrote 1510 days ago

Greetings James, After reading your pitch and first chapter, I have no doubt that this warm, well-written tragicomedy will be a success, with its compelling premise, vivid characterizations, and inherent tension. It's the kind of old-time human-interest story that many readers have been missing. My only suggestion for improving it is that you expand the first chapter to bring us right into the scenes, using more dialogue, more detail, in short more showing than telling. Imagine it in film and depict what you see. Then divide it into several chapters of about ten pages each. BACKED.

All the best, Bill ("The Doctor of Summitville")

Dawn DeRemer wrote 1510 days ago

I really thought your short pitch was a promise of outrageous humor. It set me up for more than I got from your long pitch, which read somewhat flat, factual and didn't support the notion that your book was a comedy.

Your story faded back and forth between first person narrative and third person narrative. This might work if there was some solid, belly laughing humor interjected in the first person observations of the impossible. As it stands now, there is no difference between the point of views and so it looks like a mistake.

I think you have a story to tell, with colorful people as characters, but the humor is so understated that it just comes across as a quirky, fluff story about a whacky, red Cadillac obsessed teenager. Somehow I think you wanted more for this, am I wrong? I am a writer, not a critic, so I don't have all the answers. All I can tell you is that you set me up for a good laugh and didn't follow through. I saw countless opportunities for you to use craft to get the laugh, but it was told so matter of fact that it rode right over the humor.
I hope this helps, for I truly do not mean any of this unkindly. I think you have an uncut gem here that needs better pacing, a little punctuation polish and more effort put into the humor.
Dawn De Remer

K.Z. Freeman wrote 1510 days ago

what really kept me reading on was your writing. very smooth and fluent, can't say much in the story part unfortunetly, since due to its really not my kind of read, lots of telling not much showing, and I am a visual, meaning I like to "see" things, but still I did appriciate the story, and I know many would too.

soutexmex wrote 1510 days ago

This is a light, airy read, which is a nice relief from all the sturm-und-drang on this site, to include mine, so I thank you for that. The pitches close the deal which is something I always take note of. SHELVED!

I can use your comments on my book when you get the chance. Cheers!

JC
The Obergemau Key

pinkcoffee wrote 1510 days ago

Thoroughly enjoyed... I wish you the very best of luck with your book. kind regards pinkcoffee 'In The Moment'

KevRogers wrote 1510 days ago

Super work

Backed

Kev

lizjrnm wrote 1510 days ago

Congrats first of all for sponsoring the wonderful winter olympics this year - what a great hockey game too. About the book - this is the sort of book I would buy just based on the pitch - you have a quirky style that works well here. I love the humor which is tough to write as you well know and the story lines are polished! BACKED with pleasure.


Liz
The Cheech Room

C.C.McKinnon wrote 1510 days ago

Charming and nice pacing. You have a good story and you tell it very well.

TheLoriC wrote 1511 days ago

This book is just warm and delightful, and I couldn't help but smile as I read. You have a future winner in the making! On my shelf.

L. Anne Carrington, "The Cruiserweight"

J. Oliver wrote 1511 days ago

For me this is a pleasant change from the dark and brooding stuff I normally concentrate on. There is a real whimsical charm here, James, which I find easy to like. As I said, not normally my cup of tea, but the quality of the writing speaks for itself.

Pleased to back it,

J

Richard Daybell wrote 1511 days ago

A warm, gentle story with nice touches of humor, much like that wonderful island of Chapter 2. Billie Jean is a delight even if "prone to misadventures of the flesh." And the red Cadillac makes a dandy centerpiece.

Suzannah Burke wrote 1511 days ago

This is a delight and told with a lovely quirky humour and such an irrepresible air of onward and upward...I am already cheering for Billy Jean and the quick and quirky solutions to problems many young woman found themselves facing in the 50's and 60's.

The promise 'Little Jimmy" made to himself. and the manner in which the entire story is portrayed make for an enjoyable funny/sad and fast paced reading experience. I love this.

backed with absolute pleasure.
Suzannah Burke

Mr. Nom de Plume wrote 1511 days ago

A storyline so close to non-fiction, that the genre has to be checked before making comments. Well written, is an understatement--extremely well written is more to the point. Why? Well, the storyline focus being driven by a 1954 Cadillac, red at that and a rag top to boot, hooked me with the quote: "A trumpet player in the air force band." Backed on my Bookshelf. Chuck (Paperboy Adventures)

Adelie High wrote 1511 days ago

This has a lot of charm.

I always question the use of the first person narrative; it's at once limiting and lazy, but I don't mind it so much with the light, conversational tone of the prose. The writing isn't bad, it's not exceptional, but the voice works for the story content, so this is an easy, comfortable read.

Chick Lit works, but I would never call this literary fiction - its' an odd label, and I'm not sure that any of us should be using.

I'd read on, and this still has a long way to go through the ratings so there's plenty of time for good editing. For starters, why don't you get this looking like a book: lose the ugly line-breaks and indent for paragraphs; you could even go so far as to hit the justify button. The more like a book this looks, the easier it will be to look at it objectively.

Shelved for promise,

Adelie High (Naming Names)

jamesrdunn wrote 1511 days ago

I really appreciate your support, and it's true -- Billie Jean really is an amazing heroine.

Best of luck with this. You have me trying to cheer your heroine on. Backed. Jedward (Knut)

jamesrdunn wrote 1511 days ago

Thanks for the suggestion. I went back and took the time to create a new blurb, thanks to your prodding. james.

Hoping you will invest more time with your pitches, I'm giving you a spin on my shelf.

Jed Oliver wrote 1511 days ago

Best of luck with this. You have me trying to cheer your heroine (Mama) on. Backed. Jedward (Knut)

R.A. Battles wrote 1511 days ago

Hoping you will invest more time with your pitches, I'm giving you a spin on my shelf.

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