Saturday, September 12, 2015

#30 Authors: Ruth Galm on Love Me Back by Merritt Tierce

Hello, lovelies!  As mentioned earlier this week, I am honored to be serving as today's blog host for this month's #30Authors book event.  I followed along with it last year, and loved the entire concept, enough to want to participate this time around--I hope you will check out the other blog stops throughout the month as well!

#30Authors is an annual event connecting readers, authors, and bloggers. Throughout the month of September, 30 authors review their favorite books on 30 blogs in 30 days. The event has been met with incredible support from and success within the literary community. In the six months following the event’s inaugural launch, the concept was published as an anthology by Velvet Morning Press ( Legacy: An Anthology ). Started by The Book Wheel , #30Authors remains active throughout the year and you can join in the fun by following along on Twitter at @30Authors , using the hashtag, #30Authors , or purchasing the anthology . To learn more about the event, please click here .

The author I am hosting is Ruth Galm, whose first novel, Into the Valley, came out last month (check out my review and giveaway currently going on HERE!). Ruth is here reviewing Love Me Back by Merritt Tierce. Check it out!:

There is one novel in the last year that I want to require everyone to read, that I recommend to anyone who will listen, a novel that has received much well-deserved praise and that I have circled and pondered to understand my deep admiration for it.   Love Me Back by Merritt Tierce is the story of a Dallas waitress named Marie, a young single mother who works in a high-end steakhouse and spends much of the book in a numb spiral of sex and drugs.  It is not just that I am awed by Tierce’s skill for writing sex, of self-destructive and beautiful flavors, at its most tangible and vivid; she is fearless and genius at this in a way I envy.  It is not just that she has brought me so keenly and viscerally into worlds I do not know, of restaurant workers, of working class Dallas:  “We were standing in the ugly galley kitchen of our apartment.  It was right next to a highway.  It never got dark at night and I pretended the constant sound of traffic was the ocean.” 

What fuels my compulsion to this novel is the unsentimental and un-hand-holding prose and point of view, the unwillingness to offer us a genial, arced structure that in its climax and closure soothes us.  In the book’s opening paragraph Marie describes one of the four doctors—all sleazy, three of whom she sleeps with—who asked her out after a catering event:  “Cornelius wore Tommy Bahama hibiscus-print silk shirts, and was more than twice my age, but who knows.”  There is no question mark at the end of this weary sentence, no willingness to aid us in comprehending what Marie is doing with this man, these men.  Much like:  “There is no point in asking what the attraction was—that’s the wrong question.”  Or:  “It had something to do with love and something to do with grief.”  In so much of the prose of Love Me Back, Tierce does not offer even a slowing, comforting comma to rescue us from dark and thorny questions about life paths, class, and one woman’s psychological duress.  And it is in this extraordinary sentence-level detail—along with the bold eschewing of a comfortable story arc—that the baldest, starkest, and most irrational truths are left to unsettle us, exactly the way great literature should.
More info about Ruth Galm...
Ruth Galm is the author of the debut novel Into the Valley (Soho Press, August 2015).  She was born and raised in San José, California, earned an MFA from Columbia University, and has been in San Francisco ever since. Her short fiction has appeared in Kenyon Review Online, Indiana Review , and Joyland, and she is a past resident of the Ucross Foundation.  Check her out on her website, Goodreads, or Twitter.
Want to pick up a copy of your own? Check out Soho Press or Amazon.

And if you'd like to learn more about Merritt Tierce's Love Me Back :
Author site:

BONUS! There is also a HUGE giveaway going on in connection with #30Authors! Just use the entry form below for your chance to win! And don't forget to visit the other blogs on this month's tour. :)


  1. I'm so glad that you joined in this year! Ruth Galm is getting some pretty high praise and I'm thrilled to have her joining in. If her book is half as great as her review in terms of details and descriptions, I can see why. Thanks for joining!

    1. Thank you for having me! It was loads of fun. Got to connect with a great author and find so many new-to-me titles!

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