The Upside of Down
Author: Rebecca Talley
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Cedar Fort, Inc. (January 8, 2011)
“Hmmm,” the doctor muttered.
Natalie wrinkled her forehead, almost afraid to ask, and said, “What does that mean?”
“You do know you’re pregnant, right?”
Her breath caught in her throat. “Excuse me?”
Her heartbeat thundered in her ears. “I’m what?”
Natalie Drake certainly has her hands full raising a large family, dealing with her difficult mother, and maintaining a relationship with her rebellious teenager. Just when things seem to be going smoothly, she finds out another unexpected surprise—she’s going to have a baby. Faced with so many challenges, Natalie must learn to trust in a plan that isn’t what she imagined and discover that every situation has an upside.
I read a lot during the course of the year. I also read a wide variety of genres of books. Every once in awhile you come across a book that truly touches your heart. This kind of book stays with you for a long time. The Upside of Down by Rebecca Talley is just that kind of book. I read this novel several months ago and I still remember how I felt as I read the story of Natalie and her family.
In this novel you get to know the Drake family who have six children and lead a very busy life. Natalie, a stay at home Mom and with a new calling as a Relief Society President, she thinks she can’t take anymore. Mixed in with the crazy everyday things that happen in a family, Rebcecca has included a lot humor. I laughed so many times while reading this book. Some of the things that I found humorous were when she came home and walked into her bedroom and it resembled the aftermath of a tornado. Natalie asks herself, Did she live with humans or pigs? I have felt that way myself. Another example, while sitting in Sacrament Meeting waiting to be sustained as the new Relief Society President, her daughter Laura reaches over and jiggles the back of her arm and says, “You do have Relief Society Arms.” There are so many other things that I could tell you that happen to Natalie, but I don’t want to spoil the fun for you when you read the book. I will say my favorite thing to happen involves Nair. I could not stop laughing!
Along with the humor there are incidences that make you angry and sad. It starts with chapter one when Natalie is with her two youngest at a fast food restaurant. A young family in front of her has a daughter that she notices has Down Syndrome. The father, in front of all the patrons, verbally abuses his daughter calling her a retard. That just made my skin crawl. I also had little patience with Natalie’s mother who continually criticizes her and her choices. Here is one example, “You have more than your fair share to handle here. I’m certainly not going to add to it. One of these days, I hope you wise up.”
To wrap it up, I feel personally that this is the best book that Rebecca Talley has written. She writes Natalie so real and so beautiful. She has one of the hardest challenges of her life when she finds out she is pregnant again. Then she finds out how truly special this child is that is coming into her life. She has to lean on her Heavenly Father, with much prayer, to help her through. Her family also grows closer together as they get ready to welcome this new little angel into their lives. The cover of the book shows so beautifully the heart of this story. I smile every time I look at it. I highly recommend this book to all of the readers that come to this blog; LDS or other denominations.
1. What prompted you to write this book?
I thought it would be fun to write an LDS version of “Cheaper by the Dozen.” Since my 10 kids are constantly doing things like clogging the toilet, calling 911, or giving each other haircuts, I thought I could write what I know. Of course, the book is fictionalized but much of it is based on actual experiences in my family.
2. Was this book easier or harder to write than your others?
This book was a bit harder than my other books because it has so much of my heart in it. I recalled some painful real-life experiences to help give the story realism and it was difficult at times to relive them. In fact, I had to stop a few times and step away from it because my memories were too intense.
3. Did you have any input on the cover of your book? It is so beautiful!
I love the cover–makes me want to have a snuggly newborn every time I look at it. I can’t take any credit for the cover. The designers at Cedar Fort are amazing and create incredible covers. I’m very pleased with this cover and hope it piques the interest of potential readers.
4. What book are you working on now?
I’m currently working on a YA paranormal about a young girl who derives her strength and power from her virtue and must use that power to fight demons. I just published an ebook “Hook Me: What to Include in Your First Chapter” on Smashwords. I’m also working on a few more ebooks and outlining a possible series.
5. What is the best advice to give aspiring writers?
The best advice for aspiring authors is to never give up. Also, read, read, read. Write, write, write. Attend conferences, network with other writers, join a critique group, hone your craft. Persistence pays off–I know because I am very persistent.
Thank you so much!! You can read more about Rebecca and her books here at her blog.
I received a review copy from Cedar Fort. In no way did this influence the review given.