Item description for Straight Up by Lisa Samson...
Overview After the death of their parents, Georgia Bishop, a could-be jazz great who has thrown her life away for a life centered around the bottle, and her cousin Fairly Godfrey, who pushes down her love of children in exchange for living the good life as a design consultant in New York, realize how far they have come from their God-given purposes, and when they face the most difficult choices of their lives, only the power of grace can bring them freedom. Original.
Publishers Description They are living lives they were never meant to live. Georgia Bishop, a could-be jazz great, has thrown away her life, her marriage, and her talent for her drinking habit. Her cousin, Fairly Godfrey, is living the good life in New York but wonders if deeper meaning exists beyond the superficial world in which she finds herself. It takes a Congo refugee, a soul food chef, a persistent husband, and one desperate night on the brink of freedom for Georgia and Fairly to realize how far they have come from their God-given purposes. When they face the most difficult choices of their lives, only the power of grace can bring them to true healing.
Awards and Recognitions Straight Up by Lisa Samson has received the following awards and recognitions -
Lisa Samsonis the author of more than a dozen novels, including the Christy Award-winning Songbird, the critically acclaimed"Women s Intuition"and"Tiger Lillie."Her other titles include"The Church Ladies"and"The Living End."Lisa also serves as worship leader at her local church and volunteers as a creative writing instructor. She and her husband live with their three children in Maryland."
Lisa Samson currently resides in the state of Virginia. Lisa Samson was born in 1964.
Reviews - What do customers think about Straight Up?
Though she slays me, I trust her. Nov 24, 2007
Lisa Samson novels should be read with a box of tissue and a prayer book. You'll want to do some business with God when you're done, on your behalf, or someone else's. The work is smooth going down, but hits you hard once you consume it. I love this woman's work. She raises the bar for me, every time. She makes me want to be a better person, and always, Lisa Samson reaches her goal of making readers see, with vivid clarity, that they are not alone.
Life-Changing! Jun 12, 2007
This isn't necessarily an easy book to read; you'll need to know this up front!
Many people have mentioned some of the incredibly bad choices these characters make, and that can be frustrating; many people have mentioned how gritty, pull-no-punches this story is, and that can be disturbing; but overall, if you can make the trip that Georgia makes, you'll never be the same for the experience. Many of us are haunted, in our dark moments, by visions of "what could have been" and the "if only"s of our lives; this book takes those ideas out, turns them over, probes and examines them, and gives the reader an unstinting view of several lives that fall short...yet in the end, this is a hopeful book as well. Not easy to do, in a book that spends much of its time inside the brain of an alcoholic!
While many of the secondary characters in this book I could have taken or left, and while some of them I just plain couldn't identify with, the emotion and the spiritual journeys they go through resonate regardless. Georgia's story, above all, still resonates with me...and I finished the book weeks ago. A book to read, with an aftermath that will linger in your life. Brava!
The elegant prose will keep the pages turning. Jun 5, 2007
Lisa Samson's delightful prose and interesting, gritty characters propel STRAIGHT UP, a novel about choices and consequences, the could-have-beens and should-have-beens, grief over wasted opportunities and our need for community.
Talented 32-year-old jazz musician Georgia Bishop has chosen the bottle over her music, rejecting her handsome husband Sean for a life of sitting alone at a bar and drinking away her potential. Her cousin, Fairly Godfrey, has her own troubles: at 26 she has lost her parents and her husband is hovering at the brink of death, and the solace of vintage clothing and antique furniture isn't enough to fill the gaping holes. The seemingly stable Uncle Geoffrey ("Uncle G") tries to glue the cousins back together when the trajectory of their lives intersects in Samson's hometown of Lexington, Kentucky. But will his love, the strength of his faith and his gentle acceptance be enough? The consequences of choices don't always have happy endings, and admirably, Samson portrays this without flinching as Fairly inadvertently brings things to a tragic climax.
In Samson's fictional world, food and coffee are the great consolers, and readers will salivate over the delicious culinary details throughout. Della-Faye bakes scrumptious peach cobbler and to-die-for fried chicken at the restaurant down the street, and Solo, a Congolese refugee, is quick to whip up an espresso when his friend Fairly is feeling low.
Samson is the veteran author of 18 books (including WOMEN'S INTUITION and CLUB SANDWICH) and is not afraid to take risks in her writing. Characters come in a rainbow of ethnicities, and Samson treats interracial couples in a matter-of-fact way rather than making race a point of tension --- something welcome and still fairly unusual in faith fiction.
The best moments revolve around Samson's portrayal of the community of faith --- a sometimes loose conglomeration of the walking wounded, the displaced, the neglected and abused, and the artistic misfits. There's quite a bit of the supernatural thrown in, especially toward the end, but nothing preachy or cliché. Book discussion groups will be delighted at the opportunities for debate on topics such as alcoholism, widowhood, race, caring for the wounded and the abused, medical ethics, marriage and spiritual calling, using or wasting our talents and gifts. What comes powerfully across is the potential each of us has to help change the life of another for the better. What also comes across is our ability to choose to reject this help.
One reason I love reading Samson's novels is her fresh and invigorating prose, which is in full evidence here. Lines such as "Twenty-two years later and the day she died still feels like stepping on a nail" provoke an almost physical reaction from the reader. Tropical fish "tinsel up a tank" and artists flow through a place "like warmed butterscotch over ice cream." On fried chicken: "That first bite is as good as a blanket out of the dryer after sledding or a gulp of cold Coke after a day of yard work." Hair is "rivered with silver." In describing herself, Fairly notes, "People see me as a birdbath. I am a well." I could read for pages for nothing else but the promise of more descriptions like these.
The constant switching back and forth between points of view and time periods are sometimes confusing and choppy, but hang with them: the characters are strong enough to move the book to its redemptive yet unsentimental conclusion, and the elegant prose will keep the pages turning.
--- Reviewed by Cindy Crosby
Characters stay with you May 15, 2007
This was my first Lisa Samson read - it will not be my last. She does her craft well.
Georgia and Fairly are unforgetable characters - their relatives and friends and situations are equally memorable. Georgia's thoughts and experiences while in a coma are worth contemplating.
Life is messy - messier than we like to face and admit, but there is always grace and hope. Samson helps us see this on these pages.
This is a simple yet profound read.
RAW TRUTH AND BEAUTY, WITH A JAGGED EDGE Mar 6, 2007
Although I'd experienced Samson's prose years ago with The Living End, I was totally unprepared for the ride she took me on in this book.
Her lyrical phrases are a joy to read: "Artists flowed through that place in a steady stream like warm butterscotch over ice cream." Another: "Robert Darling lived alone ... except for twenty-two tropical fish that tinseled up the tank, their colors shimmering under the fluorescent light overhead."
Georgia, a child protégé of jazz piano, squanders her potential on alcohol. Even when rescued by the people who love her most, Georgia must make a choice, and her decision becomes yours and mine as well. What will you decide?
Samson's novel allows us to experience this jagged-edged moment of truth from the safe distance of fiction.