As you’ve probably seen by now, esteemed Moorandmore captain Bill Moor is preparing to release his new book during the next few weeks. As one of a handful of people who’s been able to read advance copies of the book, I’d like to weigh in and share my opinion about Kissing the Frog before you decide whether or not to support the project:
I liked it.
Kissing the Frog sits in the space somewhere between middle grade and young adult literature, a story of adolescent relationships, pubescent awkwardness, and a touching, unique family dynamic. The main character – a sophomore wrestler named Spanky – deals with girl drama, teenage hijinks, a blended family, and the fact that his stepsister Wheat regularly whips him during wrestling practices.
Spanky’s a memorable character in a book filled with them. Wheat steals the show on more than one occasion, the other members of the wrestling team cut their own hilarious moments, and even the adults in their story take their turns to provide special moments.
But where Kissing the Frog really shines is in its strong sense of place. The influences of Bill’s own upbringing are obvious throughout the story, from Coke dates at the Mug and Munchies to hijinks at the funeral parlor, Bill deals in a living, breathing nostalgia for more than 150 pages. It’s a story set in modern times – the kids carry cell phones and watch Young Sheldon, for example. But there’s also a romanticism in the story that harkens to a simpler time. The best moments come whenever we’re introduced to a setting that somehow straddles 2020 and 1970 all at the same time.
Kissing the Frog is for anyone who’s ever doubted themselves, who remembers what its like to be stuffed face-down onto a wrestling mat, for kids in blended families, and for anyone who wants to escape the loud world of 2023 to disappear for just a little bit into a simpler, quieter, (but not always more peaceful) time. Supporting Bill’s Kickstarter is a great way to support local authors, enjoy a fun book, and to help provide copies to libraries across St. Joseph County.