Twinkle follows Tess Lee and Jack Miller after two years of marriage. Tess is a wildly successful and world-famous novelist. Her inspirational books explore our innermost struggles and the human need to believe that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Jack is a federal agent. After spending decades immersed in a violent world, a residue remains. As they both heal from past trauma, their epic love, fostered by their ability to truly see one another, has brought them true happiness. However, when an anonymous threat is made against Tess’s life, everything changes. Will they learn to lean on each other, or will they fall apart into the darkness? Their friends are along for the ride: Omar, Tess’s sarcastic best friend, who calls her Butterfly; the female president of the United States, who Tess visits regularly to discuss politics and bake cookies; Joe, Jack’s friend from the Bureau, who understands the sacrifices he’s made; and Bobby, Jack’s younger friend, who never fails to lend a calming presence. Twinkle is a novel about the nature of doubt, the struggle to feel worthy of love, the relationship of the small part to the greater whole, and the ways in which love – from lovers, friends, or the art we experience – can help us move from trauma to healing and redemption. Written as unfolding action, Twinkle is a poignant novel that moves fluidly between melancholy, humor, and joy. It can be read entirely for pleasure, selected for book clubs, or used as supplemental reading in a variety of courses in communication, psychology, social work, sociology, or women’s studies/gender studies.
“In a world where wit is often an underappreciated weapon, this tightly crafted novel sparkles brightly—and pierces straight to the heart.” Alexandra “Xan” Nowakowski, Ph.D., MPH, Florida State University
“Twinkle is contemporary literature at its very best, one that hides its lessons inside perfectly baked cookies that leave you feeling better about the world and the people in it.” U. Melissa Anyiwo, Ph.D., Curry College
“A stunning example of love, compassion, empathy, and meaningful relationships that will make you laugh out loud while reminding you about the importance of your loved ones.” J. E. Sumerau, Ph.D., The University of Tampa
“There is so much beauty in Twinkle that stayed with me long after I read the last page: the beauty of our good friends, of healing, of real and steady love, of life’s experiences wonderfully told.” Alexandra Lasczik, Ph.D., Southern Cross University
Publisher’s website for the Book: https://brill.com/view/title/59481
Tess Lee is a novelist. Her inspirational books explore people’s innermost struggles and the human need to believe that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Despite her extraordinary success, she’s been unable to find personal happiness. Jack Miller is a federal agent. After spending decades immersed in a violent world, a residue remains. He’s dedicated everything to his job, leaving nothing for himself. The night Tess and Jack meet, their connection is palpable. She examines the scars on his body and says, “I’ve never seen anyone whose outsides match my insides.” The two embark on an epic love story that asks the questions: What happens when people truly see each other? Can unconditional love change the way we see ourselves? Their friends are along for the ride: Omar, Tess’s sarcastic best friend who mysteriously calls her Butterfly; Joe, Jack’s friend from the Bureau who understands the sacrifices he’s made; and Bobby, Jack’s younger friend who never fails to lighten the mood. Shooting Stars is a novel about walking through our past traumas, moving from darkness to light, and the ways in which love – from lovers, friends, or the art we experience – heals us. Written as unfolding action, Shooting Stars is a poignant novel that moves fluidly between melancholy, humor, and joy.
“I found myself eagerly reading to the end, feeling disappointed when I had finished – such is the power of Leavy’s writing. This is quite possibly Leavy’s best work to date, and I am hungry for more.”– Alexandra Lasczik, Ph.D., Southern Cross University
“Leavy has done what she does best: write a story that you won’t be able to put down until you finish the final sentence… Shooting Stars is a love story about friendship and real romance, but most importantly, it is a story about learning to love ourselves, the most difficult love of all.” – Sandra L. Faulkner, Ph.D., author of Poetic Inquiry: Craft, Method, and Practice
“Straightforward storytelling, when done well, can allow the pathos of a tale to flourish fully. Shooting Stars offers a prime example – one that grabbed and shook me in a way most novels do not… I found the story of Tess and Jack uncomfortably resonant and unexpectedly haunting. But the deepest cuts came from Leavy’s frankly audacious creation of space for trauma processing and healing as priorities in daily life, rather than the afterthoughts they often become in a world that expects us to smile through pain… It is this sense of empathy for self that haunts me most after reading, and that will likely linger in surprising ways.”– Alexandra “Xan” Nowakowski, Ph.D., MPH, Florida State University
“Shooting Stars is one of the grandest love stories of all time… This is a book that grounds the possibility of hope, love, and healing in our ability, if we will it, to truly see, hear, and accept each other as striving, troubled, imperfect, and ultimately, lovable and loving beings. It will make your heart smile.”– Eve Spangler, Ph.D., Boston College
“This is a wonderful book that you will relish. Read it on your own, in book clubs, or as supplemental reading in social sciences courses.” – Jessica Smartt Gullion, Ph.D., Texas Woman’s University
“For so many of us, perhaps all of us, life is challenging as we learn to live through and with trauma, grief, and loss. Shooting Stars shows us how to thrive through unconditional love. Read this book – it will crack your heart wide open.” – Laurel Richardson, Ph.D., author of Lone Twin
“Her most explicit romance and her most powerful work to date, this is one for every classroom and community group, taking you on a rollercoaster of emotions but leaving you with a brighter sense of the world and the people who quietly make it better.” – U. Melissa Anyiwo, Ph.D., Curry College
Publisher’s Website for the Book
To Buy the Book on Amazon.com
Candy Floss Collection (3 novels)
Candy Floss Collection is a set of three previously released, bestselling novels: Low-Fat Love, Blue, and Film. Together these novels create an overarching message about what it truly means to live a “big life” and the kinds of relationships we need with others and ourselves along the way. This is not a trilogy. This collection can be understood as installation art. Written with humor, cultural insight, and a wink, we follow each female protagonist and cast of offbeat characters as they search for love, friendship, and a sense of self. The characters must learn to mind the gap between their lives as they are and as they wish them to be, to chase their dreams even as they stumble on their insecurities, and to never settle for low-fat love. Along the way, characters are imaged in the glow of television and movie screens, their own stories shaped and illuminated by the stories in pop culture. Set in contemporary New York and Los Angeles, with special tributes to 1980s pop culture, each book questions and celebrates the ever-changing cultural landscape against which we live our stories, frame by frame.
“Epic! Brilliant! Absolutely delicious! Candy Floss Collection is Patricia Leavy’s definitive statement. Her books – the people, scenes, dialogue – always feel natural; whatever or whomever she is describing feels authentic. Leavy manages to normalize persons and relationships that have been ignored or stigmatized, and she does so in a genuine way. People are people. I really like that she doesn’t make identity politics the center of the story, but focuses on our similarities as we search for meaningful lives. Her talent for weaving pop culture into her narratives is on full display in this collection. Pop culture matters; in these books, it’s a part of who the characters become in their hearts and souls. Leavy both critiques and celebrates pop culture, while showing how we can all make and remake the culture we consume. This unconventional trilogy is luminous, generous, heart-rending, and fulfilling. I have read and loved all three of these novels individually, seeing myself and loved ones in the pages, and I’m in awe of the impact of placing them in a collection. I have followed Tash’s life across three books, and I rejoice at how she has grown up and chosen a healthy love relationship and a creatively fulfilling career. I want her to “have it all.” It’s clear that Patricia Leavy wants readers to imagine they too can have it all, whatever that means to the reader. The message is an important one: we can all live “big” lives by focusing on what matters most. Candy Floss Collection offers a template of possibility. It will inspire you to believe in possibility in your own life, and in those around you. I don’t think you’ll ever be able to settle again.” – Laurel Richardson, Ph.D., The Ohio State University, and author of Lone Twin
Publisher’s Website for the Book
To Buy the Book on Amazon.com
Film follows three women who moved to Los Angeles to pursue their dreams. Tash Daniels aspires to be a filmmaker. Her short film was rejected from festivals, she has a stack of rejected grant proposals, and she lost her internship at a studio when her boss harassed her, forcing her to take a job as a personal shopper. Lu K is a hot deejay slowly working her way up the club scene, but no one is doing her any favors. Fiercely independent, she’s at a loss when she meets Paisley, a woman who captures her heart. Monroe Preston is the glamorous wife of a Hollywood studio head. As a teenager she moved to LA in search of a “big” life, but now she wonders if reality measures up to fantasy. When a man in their circle finds sudden fame, each of these women is catapulted on a journey of self-discovery. As the characters’ stories unfold, each is forced to confront how her past has shaped her fears and to choose how she wants to live in the present. Film is a novel about the underside of dreams, the struggle to find internal strength, the power of art, and what it truly means to live a “big” life. Frequently shown bathed in the glow of the silver screen, the characters in Film show us how the arts can reignite the light within. With a tribute to popular culture, set against the backdrop of Tinseltown, Film celebrates how the art we make and consume can shape our stories, scene by scene. Although fictional, Film is loosely grounded in interview research. It can be read entirely for pleasure or used as supplemental reading in a variety of courses in women’s studies/gender studies, sociology, psychology, communication, popular culture, media studies, or qualitative inquiry. Film can be read as a stand-alone novel or as a sequel to the bestselling novel, Blue.
“Film is a tour de force! I couldn’t put this book down. Film takes you inside yourself, and outside, too. It inspires a belief in possibility. Bravo!” – Laurel Richardson, Ph.D., The Ohio State University
“With a subtext of sexual harassment and inequality especially relevant in the #MeToo era, this timely novel illustrates the cultural context in which girls and women live their lives. An engaging read, Film is sure to stimulate reflection, both personally and more broadly in book clubs and courses on media and gender.” – Jean Kilbourne, Ed.D., author, feminist activist, and creator of the Killing Us Softly: Advertising’s Image of Women film series
“Patricia Leavy has delivered another title in her original and unique voice, yet again demonstrating her mettle as a masterful writer of fiction.” – Alexandra Lasczik, Ph.D., Southern Cross University
“Leavy’s bravest novel, dealing with issues sparked by the current #MeToo Movement… will resonate with any reader. Her characters help us all realize that we only really see shades of people, tips of icebergs that often hide deep wells of pain… Use this novel in your Social Work, Communication, Film, Women’s and Gender Studies, Sociology, and Capstone courses.” – U. Melissa Anyiwo, Ph.D., Curry College
Publisher’s Website for the Book
Professor Peyton Wilde has an enviable life teaching sociology at an idyllic liberal arts college—yet she is troubled by a sense of fading inspiration. One day an invitation arrives. Peyton has been selected to attend a luxurious all-expense-paid seminar in Iceland, where participants, billed as some of the greatest thinkers in the world, will be charged with answering one perplexing question. Meeting her diverse teammates—two neuroscientists, a philosopher, a dance teacher, a collage artist, and a farmer—Peyton wonders what she could ever have to contribute. The ensuing journey of discovery will transform the characters’ work, their biases, and themselves. This suspenseful novel shows that the answers you seek can be found in the most unlikely places. It can be read for pleasure, is a great choice for book clubs, and can be used as unique and inspiring reading in qualitative research and other courses in education, sociology, social work, psychology, and communication.
“This compelling, highly original novel from an internationally renowned sociologist and author brings us to a meeting of people with radically different perspectives and life experiences who are asked to collaboratively answer a question… Spark is perfect for any group—class, family, community—where differences need to be respected and commonalities affirmed. If I ran the world, I would make this book required reading.” – Laurel Richardson, PhD, author of Seven Minutes from Home; Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Sociology, The Ohio State University
“A thoroughly enjoyable and thoughtful read! Seven brilliant thinkers from diverse disciplines and countries have just five days to answer a deceptively simple question. This beautifully written novel, set in Iceland’s magical landscape, draws readers into a puzzle the group must solve, while simultaneously exploring characters’ personal struggles. The gradual peeling back of layers, intriguing premise, realistic dialogue, and abundant food for thought make Spark not only a page turner, but also an intellectual treasure that will stick with me.” — Christine Sleeter, PhD, author of The Inheritance; Professor Emerita, College of Professional Studies, California State University, Monterey Bay
“In this clever and captivating novel, Leavy shows us how a research project is collaboratively developed from the spark of an idea to research purpose to execution… Spark represents the best of arts-based research from a master of fiction-as-research-method. I will be teaching this book in my undergraduate and graduate classes.” — Sandra L. Faulkner, PhD, Professor of Communication and Director of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Bowling Green State University
“Leavy has penned an engaging novel that illustrates the different ways that diverse people come to understand the world—and understand it together. Spark does as its title suggests, kindling readers’ openness to other people, other ideas, other ways of seeing and being. Modern societies need this skill set more than ever.” — Marcus B. Weaver-Hightower, PhD, Professor of Educational Foundations and Research, University of North Dakota
“This intriguing novel illuminates the blinding force of presumptions—about one’s own capacities, about other people, and, not least, about the ‘requirements’ of legitimate intellectual inquiry.” — Mark Freeman, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Ethics and Society, College of the Holy Cross
“Award-winning author Patricia Leavy has done it again—written a novel that I couldn’t put down! Amid breathtaking Icelandic landscapes, the characters and the challenge they are grappling with come to life… Thought-provoking, intriguing, and clever, Spark left me wanting to live in the world that Leavy has created—a world of beauty and possibility.” — Robin Patric Clair, PhD, author of Zombie Seed and the Butterfly Blues; Department of Communication, Purdue University
“I plan to use it in all of my research courses as a required text.” — Ricardo D. Rosa, PhD, School of Education, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
“Leavy brings all of her creativity, craft, and insight to a novel that not only is an enjoyable read but also truly sparks layers of meaningful conversations… Be prepared to have your ideas spark and grow!” — Celeste Snowber, PhD, Faculty of Education, Simon Fraser University, British Columbia, Canada
“Spark has surpassed expectations. One of the strengths of this novel is how it promotes conversations about intersectionality as it relates to privilege. I am eager to share this remarkable work with my students.” — Renita M. Davis, LICSW, Interim Chair, Troy University School of Social Work
“This novel truly has something for everyone.” — Corey P., undergraduate, Fairfield University
“Delightful and thought provoking, Spark is a compelling read, whether in or out of the classroom… Leavy encourages the reader to leave all biases at the door.” — Taylor D., undergraduate, Raritan Valley Community College
“I just finished reading this breathtaking book in one sitting… This is the perfect book for first-year students for so many reasons. It’s a story about arriving at a place that you think is awesome but possibly too big for you, judging everyone’s outsides against your insides, and finding the power of community, context, and perspective. It’s about becoming more aware of how you typically understand (or misunderstand) others—and learning to listen, to tolerate uncertainty, and to try new things (some of which won’t work). This is a sensational book that should be everyone’s freshman read.” — Eve Spangler, PhD, Department of Sociology, Boston College
Publisher’s Website for the Book
Low-Fat Love Stories
Patricia Leavy and Victoria Scotti
Low-Fat Love Stories is a collection of short stories and visual portraits based on interview research with women about a dissatisfying relationship with a romantic partner or relative, or their body image. The stories focus on settling in relationships, the gap between fantasies and realities, relationship patterns, divorce, abuse, childhood pain, spirituality, feeling like a fraud, growing older, and daily struggles looking in the mirror. Once upon a time and happily ever after take on new meaning as the women’s stories reveal the underside of fairytales and toxic popular culture. Written in the first-person with language taken directly from each woman’s interview, the stories are raw, visceral, and inspirational. As a collection, the stories and art set you on an emotional rollercoaster and illustrate the different forms “low-fat love” may take, and the quest for self-worth in the context of popular culture that tells women they are never enough.
The authors developed an original method of “textual visual snapshots” for this book. Low-Fat Love Stories can be used in a range of courses in art education, gender/women’s studies, popular culture, psychology, relational communication, sociology and social work; or as an exemplar in research or qualitative methods, narrative inquiry, arts-based research or creative writing courses; or it can be read entirely for pleasure by individuals or in book clubs.
“A powerful book that explores the effect of living in the context of a commercial culture that tells women they are not enough. Through both the stories and portraits, Low-Fat Love Stories challenges the representations of women that dominate popular culture, offering alternative narratives and images grounded in women’s real experiences. This will be an engaging springboard for self and social reflection in classes.” – Sut Jhally, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts at Amherst; Founder & Executive Director, Media Education Foundation
“Low-Fat Love Stories is wonderful! I love it. The images are glorious— emotionally compelling— those eyes, the pain, the fragility; the stories are captivating. The combination of visual images, handwritten journal entries, and stories captures the anguish and hope of women extraordinarily well. Each “textual-visual snapshot” takes you on a breathtaking journey. The methodology is original, exciting, and compelling. I am a writer and a visual artist. Bringing together the two modes has been a life-long challenge for me. Hurrah! This book models a way for me to at long last integrate my creative expressions. I think it will do that for others. I highly recommend Low-Fat Love Stories for general readers, book clubs, writing groups, and any number of college courses.” – Laurel Richardson, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, The Ohio State University and Cooley Book Award winner
“Low-Fat Love Stories places women’s experiences and words at the forefront. Through visual art and stories, this book challenges the representations of women we typically see in popular culture and offers alternatives. An important addition to the fields of gender and media studies that is certain to stimulate self-reflection and lively discussion.” – Jean Kilbourne, Ed.D., author, feminist activist, and creator of the Killing Us Softly: Advertising’s Image of Women film series
“A wonderful model of the infinite possibilities for art as research where conversations with fifty-six women are distilled and transformed into one compelling work proving that artistic expression is uniquely capable of offering transparent evidence and honest insights into complex human conditions. The book shows how fiction as a psychological medium can go where standard psychological formats simply cannot go in getting close to intimate experience. Text and drawings communicate the “dark truth” and make it into an inspirational affirmation of life for all people.” – Shaun McNiff, Ph.D., University Professor, Lesley University and author of Art as Research, Art Heals, and Imagination in Action
“Leavy’s words and Scotti’s images transform intimate interviews into captivating portraits of the unspoken inner lives of women— bringing to life the source of their insecurities and fears, and staying alongside these women as they find the courage and strength to change their circumstances. This is important reading for those who’ve experienced similar, and everyone who wants to better understand what is left invisible. A timely read for a growing national conversation.” – Nick Sousanis, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, San Francisco State University and award-winning author of Unflattening
“Powerful and riveting! Low-Fat Love Stories captures women’s struggles with self-esteem in very real and visceral ways through “textual-visual snapshots.” This innovative, collaborative practice between an author and a visual artist facilitates a uniquely conceptualized methodology that stretches our impressions and encourages women to reimagine their lives. Most importantly, women’s lives count! This collection of stories resonates with the experiences of all women and will assuredly benefit all women, and yes, the men in their lives.” – Rita L. Irwin, Ph.D., Professor and Associate Dean of Teacher Education, The University of British Columbia
“Low-Fat Love Stories is anything but low-fat. This gorgeous book is full of music; the images and stories of women’s relational lives will resonate long after you experience them. This work represents the best of arts-based research, collaborative work, and feminist research. It questions the damaging popular discourse that romance means happily ever after and that romance is women’s biggest achievement. I intend to buy this for all the women and men in my life.” – Sandra L. Faulkner, Ph.D., Director of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Bowling Green State University and coauthor of Writing the Personal
“Low-Fat Love Stories takes readers on a journey into women’s hearts, minds, bodies and relationships that is by turns heartbreaking, realistic, difficult, and inspirational. The stories and artwork ask women to consider how they can love, nurture, and grow in their work and their relationships in ways that resist and revise the seemingly endless stream of images and messages that devalue and demean us. In a time when women are shamed, blamed, violated, and told they deserve less, Low Fat Love Stories tells a new kind of fairy tale: one in which women are powerful, smart, beautiful and in charge of their own lives and loves.” – Stacy Holman Jones, Ph.D., Professor, Monash University and coauthor of Writing for Performance and Autoethnography: Understanding Qualitative Research
“Leavy and Scotti use interviews, techniques of fiction, and stunning visual art to identify and critique prominent cultural fairytales, problematic portrayals of women in popular culture, and unrealistic expectations about love. They also show how women might live through/with toxic relationships, abuse, aging, body image dissatisfaction, and (not) loving themselves. Methodologically and topically, Low-Fat Love Stories makes a noteworthy contribution to both gender and arts-based research.” – Tony E. Adams, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Northeastern Illinois University and award-winning author of Narrating the Closet
“In this deeply innovative work, Leavy and Scotti use visual art and story-telling to represent women’s lived experiences of “low-fat love.” Heartbreaking, raw, and beautifully executed, their unique approach to the doing of social science research will inspire scholars to further push the boundaries of what research might look like, and how it might touch and influence others.” – Jessica Smartt Gullion, Ph.D., Interim Assistant Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Texas Woman’s University
“With this collection of Low-Fat Love Stories, Leavy and Scotti continue to expand curriculum and strategies for teaching arts-and-research. Low-Fat Love Stories is also an excellent text for teaching education and sociology courses about gender, sexuality, and popular culture. Best of all, Low-Fat Love Stories is a great read and a joy for lay readers, instructors, and students alike.” – Susan Finley, Ph.D., Professor, Washington State University and acclaimed arts author and activist
“In Low-Fat Love Stories, we are found in each other’s stories and enter the syllables of our own becoming. Leavy and Scotti call us to honor both vulnerability and strength, and the ability to recreate a life, not hindered by patterns or limitations of one’s own perceptions. By integrating an arts-based practice and weaving textual-visual snapshots, the stories of the women in this book, catch us in an earthy and radiant tone, and we are beckoned to boldly live and celebrate our authentic lives.” – Celeste Snowber, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Simon Fraser University and author of Embodied Prayer and Embodied Inquiry
Publisher’s Website for the Book
To Buy the Book on Amazon.com
American Circumstance: Anniversary Edition
A New Edition of Brill/Sense BESTSELLER
Paige Michaels comes from the kind of wealth that few experience. The daughter of a notoriously successful banker who wielded great political power, she grew up in an extraordinary world peopled by the political leaders of tomorrow. Now one mistake rooted in her past is threatening to unravel her perfect life. After years as a stay-at-home mother living in New Jersey, Mollie Johnston convinces her husband, Paul, to move back to New York to fulfill her dream of living amid the bright lights. Mollie is uncomfortable in her own body and is always worried about how others perceive her and Paul. Once she sees how the other half lives, will she come to see herself and her marriage more clearly? Gwen McAndrews is the ultimate New York socialite and is the envy of those impressed by her grandeur, but is there more than meets the eye? In addition to Paige, Mollie, and Gwen, a cast of characters’ stories are interwoven into the text – parents, children, caretakers, childhood friends, old lovers, and spouses. American Circumstance is a novel about appearance versus reality – how our lives and relationships appear to others versus how they are experienced, and the complex ways that social class shapes identity, relationships, and the codes of friendship. American Circumstance also provides a window into the replication of wealth, power, and privilege. The novel can be used as supplemental reading in courses across the disciplines that deal with gender, social class, inequality, power, family systems, relational communication, intimate relationships, identity, American culture, narrative or creative writing. It can also be read in book clubs or entirely for pleasure.
“American Circumstance kept me up! I couldn’t put it down. I wanted to see how the characters’ lives untangled. I loved how Leavy challenged my cultural assumptions. This book would be great to teach. Students will have a lot to talk about as they discover a ‘sociology of everyday life’ embedded in the fiction.” – Professor Laurel Richardson, The Ohio State University
“American Circumstance was hard to put down, once you start, you are drawn into in such a way that the world disappears and time seems to stand still. There was something about the characters that was so compelling that I couldn’t look away, couldn’t stop reading; even a bathroom trip seemed like an incomprehensible interruption. I needed to know if Paige, Mollie and Gwen, would resolve their issues. The open ending forces the story to stay with you for a long time afterwards as you try to imagine where their lives will end up. Leavy leaves so much unsaid because life is more about impressions of people, sketches of what we choose to see, rather than perfectly drawn archetypes. I could absolutely see this novel in a plethora of courses aimed at understanding the complexities and limits of life in the modern world. It is contemporary literature at its best, accessible and incredibly well written, with a prose that welcomes in a wide-ranging audience, short enough to consume quickly (attractive for students), but with enough depth to satisfy you. Its sociological issues are apparent yet not overwhelming. Its message useful for encouraging critical (deep) thinking, Ultimately, American Circumstance is a novel that I have recommended to all of my friends as a great beach read, and my colleagues teaching Contemporary American Literature and Women’s and Gender Studies.” – Professor U. Melissa Anyiwo, Curry College
“This one is a real page-turner. Just when you think you know what’s going on, it turns out that events aren’t at all what they seem.” – Professor Eve Spangler, Boston College
“Leavy shows that the lines between fiction and scholarship are beginning to merge, and that an academic can write an effective fictional account to represent the data of her sociological findings… Leavy writes it in an engaging way that helps the reader to ask important questions about class issues in America. This engaging story keeps the reader interested and wondering why women make the choices they do.” – Margaret A. Robbins, The Journal of Language & Literacy Education
“American Circumstance is wonderful! The characters and story invite you into a world that is both familiar and unfamiliar. While many urgent social issues are raised for thoughtful consideration, the heart of the novel pulses with the experiences and emotions of three women who, while marked by many differences, all share a commitment to living hopefully in love. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole novel—from the first inviting words to the exquisitely poignant conclusion. Highly recommended!!” – Professor, Carl Leggo, University of British Columbia
“American Circumstance had me hooked from page one. Patricia Leavy creates a compelling, enthralling world that beautifully illustrates what real love and partnership truly is while challenging our assumptions and pushing us to look at our own relationships. Expertly crafted and engagingly drawn. Pick this book up!” – Amy Leigh Mercree, Relationship Expert and author of The Spiritual Girl’s Guide to Dating: Your Enlightened Path to Love, Sex & Soul Mates
“American Circumstance has a chic-lit feel, but rather than it following the tired chic-lit formula, Leavy subverts the genre with characters that are multidimensional and events that are true-to-life. Paige, the central character, leads what on the surface seems to be a charmed life of wealth and privilege. But those characteristics do not define her. Leavy untangles the American circumstance in ways that are relatable and breathes depth into her characters. American Circumstance is grounded in both sociology and feminism and is a pleasure to read.” – Professor Jessica Smartt Gullion, Texas Woman’s University
Publisher’s Website for the Book
A Brill/Sense INSTANT BESTSELLER
Blue follows three roommates as they navigate life and love in their post-college years. Tash Daniels, the former party girl, falls for deejay Aidan. Always attracted to the wrong guy, what happens when the right one comes along? Jason Woo, a lighthearted model on the rise, uses the club scene as his personal playground. While he’s adept at helping Tash with her personal life, how does he deal with his own when he meets a man that defies his expectations? Penelope, a reserved and earnest graduate student slips under the radar, but she has a secret no one suspects. As the characters’ stories unfold, each is forced to confront their life choices or complacency and choose which version of themselves they want to be. Blue is a novel about identity, friendship, figuring out who we are during the “in-between” phases of life, and the search for people who “get us.” The characters in Blue show how our interactions with people often bump up against backstage struggles we know nothing of. Visual art, television and film, appear as signposts throughout the narrative, providing a context for how we each come to build our sense of self in the world. With a tribute to 1980s pop culture, set against the backdrop of contemporary New York, Blue both celebrates and questions the ever-changing cultural landscape against which we live our stories, frame by frame. Although fictional, Blue is grounded in interview research, teaching and personal observations. It can be read entirely for pleasure or used as supplemental reading in a variety of courses in women’s/gender studies, sociology, psychology, communication, popular culture, media studies, qualitative inquiry, narrative inquiry or arts-based research. The protagonist, Tash Daniels, originally appeared in the best-selling novel Low-Fat Love (Blue is set several years later). Blue can be read as a stand-alone novel.
“I love it. I just love it. I wasn’t planning on reading it this morning but once I started I couldn’t stop. Tash is so familiar and yet unique. I get her discontents and I am rooting for her as soon as she says her first words. She’s in NYC and I know she’s going to make it. I want her to. And I want her friends, including the homeless man, to make it, too. In the accolades of the 1980′s, I find the novel cool, hip and awesome! It would be fantastic in any number of college courses. Young adults should read this. BRAVO, Patricia Leavy!” - Laurel Richardson, Ph.D. The Ohio State University
“An engaging piece of public scholarship, Blue provides rich food for thought about the pop culture landscape and how its shapes our own stories. With a subtext about privilege, opportunity, sexual assault and gender, this would be a useful and fun teaching tool.” - Sut Jhally, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts at Amherst; Founder & Executive Director, Media Education Foundation
“Blue is a joyful, inspiring and painfully beautiful novel written by gifted scholar and writer, Patricia Leavy. Blue shows all of us how to move forward through times of pain, crisis or complacency with hope and love.” - Norman Denzin, Ph.D. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
“Blue is a tour de force! Leavy shines at her brightest in this little gem of a book. Authentic dialogue, fun but complex characters, and brilliant uses of pop culture make this book a must-read. I don’t want to give anything away, but the meaning of the title is genius. Beautiful! I love that we get to catch up with Tash from Low-Fat Love and be immersed in her sometimes endearing, sometimes frustrating, and all too relatable complexity again. The city is a refreshing character in this finely drawn book, transporting you to a hopeful, hip, vibrant New York. Blue inspires reflection and entertains. I highly recommend it!” - Amy Leigh Mercree, author of The Spiritual Girl’s Guide to Dating
Blue, Patricia Leavy’s latest journey into social fiction, reminds me of what it meant to live through the blue of young adulthood, a time spent working through the complexities of a life that’s constantly changing like the sky while struggling toward self-love, spiritual balance and happiness. Like Low-Fat Love I was immediately pulled in as a reader by Leavy’s refreshing use of language, her descriptions helping me see the world she’s creating, a world that feels as familiar as one I remember as if it were yesterday. - Mary E. Weems, Ph.D., author of Blackeyed: Plays and Monologues and Cleveland Arts Prize winner
“Patricia Leavy’s strength lies not just in writing relatable yet complex women, but also in the level of cultural and social research she puts into each page. Blue is more than a great read, it is the embodiment of sociological art, grounded in theory and method and mixed with all the fun pop culture has to offer. The result is stunning! I can’t wait to use it in the classroom!” - Adrienne Trier-Bieniek, Ph.D., Valencia College
“In her new novel Blue, Patricia Leavy maps the contemporary landscape of love by narrating a vibrant tale where complex and compelling characters dance with the possibilities of longing and romance like light and shadow dance a tango, full of wisdom, wit, and wonder, swirling with vibrant voices that conjure the hope and loss we all know is the heart and truth of love, always more confounding than found, always calling us forth with indefatigable desire. Blue is a novel we all need to read now!” - Carl Leggo, Ph.D., University of British Columbia; Poet
Patricia Leavy has done it again. Shimmering under a filmic haze of vintage mid-80s Greenwich Village, her latest novelBlue bursts to life with the elegance and electricity of a true New Yorker. Equal parts smart and funny, this book somehow also manages to be a love letter to anyone who has fallen in love, survived the death of a love affair, the death of a loved one, or walked with others through such profound loss. It is a work of immense empathy, a work of creative practice-led research about hope and loyalty, resilience and redemption. - Anne Harris, Ph.D. Monash University; Australian Research Fellow in Creativity and Arts in Education
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Low-Fat Love unfolds over three seasons as Prilly Greene and Janice Goldwyn, adversarial editors at a New York press, experience personal change relating to the men, and absence of women, in their lives. Ultimately, each woman is pushed to confront her own image of herself, exploring her insecurities, the stagnation in her life, and her reasons for having settled for low-fat love. Along with Prilly and Janice, the cast of characters’ stories are interwoven throughout the book. Low-Fat Love is underscored with a commentary about female identity-building and self-acceptance and how, too often, women become trapped in limited visions of themselves. Women’s media is used as a signpost throughout the book in order to make visible the context in which women come to think of themselves as well as the men and women in their lives.
In this respect, Low-Fat Love offers a critical commentary about popular culture and the social construction of femininity. Grounded in a decade of interview research with young women and written in a fun, chick-lit voice, the novel can be read for pleasure or used as supplemental reading in a variety of courses in women’s/gender studies, sociology, psychology, popular culture, media studies, communication, qualitative research, and arts-based research. This new, expanded anniversary edition has been thoroughly copy edited and revised for a cleaner version of the novel. It also includes new bonus content such as an afterword, a Q&A with the author answering reader questions, and ideas for classroom use.
“Sometimes, when I read an especially wonderful book I say to myself, “I wish I had written that!” And that is how I feel about Low-Fat Love. To write a page-turner of a book that teaches about contemporary gender relationships is a major feat. Patricia Leavy has done that with Low-Fat Love. Truth be told, I love Low-Fat Love because it creates a fictional world that mirrors the gendered one we live in. I can identify with all the different characters and their issues. I would love to be in any college class or book group that was fortunate enough to be reading and discussing it. Brilliant!” – Laurel Richardson, Ph.D., Cooley Book Award Winner and Emeritus Professor of Sociology The Ohio State University
“Patricia Leavy writes with passion, verve and skill. I loved the first edition of LFL, but this expanded edition exceeded my expectations. I would run, not stroll, to get a copy for yourself and all of the important people in your life. I will use this in my relational communication and women’s studies classes because it is beautiful, relatable, and offers smart critique of how pop-culture’s expectations for intimate relationships often lets us down. Leavy offers readers a way to think through their close relationships and demand better of themselves and others.” – Sandra L. Faulkner, Director of Women’s Studies and Associate Professor of Communication Ph.D., Bowling Green State University
“I couldn’t put it down! Low-Fat Love is a remarkable novel that every women’s studies class and interpersonal class would do well to read. The title is indicative of the search for meaningful, deep, enriching relationships beyond the artificial, low-fat love that is all too pervasive in society today. I wholeheartedly recommend this book.” – Robin Patric Clair, Award-Winning Researcher and Professor of Communication Ph.D., Purdue University
“Low-Fat Love is absolutely brilliant. This new edition is a must-read for anyone who has lived, loved, dreamed, and at times, settled for less than what we deserve – in other words, this is a book for everyone. Get it now, set it on your course reading lists, and give it away for birthday and holiday gifts. It will change the way you think about identity, the media and popular culture, gender, communication, feminism, education, emotion, relationships, and the sociology of human being-ism.” – Anne Harris, Ph.D., Monash University and Australian Research Fellow in Creativity and Arts in Education
“More than anything, Low-Fat Love proves the astonishing talent that Leavy possesses as both a writer and social commentator. This novel manages to synthesize years of research without ever feeling researched, and teaches so much without the reader feeling as if they were being educated. It’s a novel that appeals to multiple audiences, and I know that many of my students, both male and female, recommended this novel to their friends and siblings for the fun enlightenment they gained. In short, read it now. You definitely won’t be disappointed. It manages to be a short, ‘can’t put it down’ book to read on the beach or on a plane, while still inspiring the sort of reflection usually reserved for self-help novels and sociology tomes. A wonderful and inspiring read that I will be using for years to come. Every student should read this book.” – U. Melissa Anyiwo, Ph.D., Director of Diversity Studies and Professor of History and American Studies Curry College
Publisher’s Website for the Book
To Buy the Book on Amazon.com