Saturday, 4 September 2010

Spotlight on: D.J. Kirkby (Includes competition)

I first started chatting to D.J. Kirkby on Twitter before I realised that she had a book under her belt and another one due for release. One word: CLICK! I can't vouch for her but it was quite powerful for me how mighty this click was. She's now up there in my list of firm favourites.

It was with great pleasure that I ordered both her memoir From Zaftig to Aspie (from Amazon) and her novel Without Alice (directly from Punked Books). They both arrived through my letterbox during the same week. I was really excited about reading them both but I had to wait until I had a couple of days away to be able to properly read and absorb them.

I chose to read From Zaftig to Aspie first. By this point I felt I knew D.J. Kirkby quite well but wanted to know her back story. She is the first to admit that she self published this memoir and that she has dyslexia. To me this enhanced the read, as I am full of admiration for the courage involved in this decision. If you bear in mind her dyslexia as you read it, you cannot fail to be impressed with this book.

The content is fascinating in itself. A story of a very colourful and full life, It is sometimes hard to imagine that one person can have had so many varied experiences. The writing is very intimate, and at times I felt like I was being a snoop and peeking in on D.J. Kirkby's private thoughts. This, in my opinion, makes From Zaftig to Aspie one of my favourite memoirs ever. I sat in a public place with big fat tears rolling down my cheeks at one point. I didn't even bother to brush them away. You will not be able to read this book without feeling emotional.

Five seconds after finishing From Zaftig to Aspie, I started Without Alice. I read it in under a day. The characters draw you in from the very start, and being as I always see the best in people until they prove me wrong, I did wonder what the deal was with Stephen at the beginning. He didn't 'feel' like the type that would be a complete bastard for the sake of it. I have so much empathy for Jennie, and for some of the secondary characters as the process of labour, birth and having a young baby was described, and my own memories came flooding back. The way the main characters are all involved is unravelled in what feels like a bit of a dance as they try and establish their own place in both their lives and in your mind. It truly is one of those books that you do not want to end. I put it down for a while when I had a few pages left, to try and savour the moment.

One thing I would like to mention about D.J. Kirkby is her wonderful eye for all things beautiful. You simply cannot fail to notice that the covers of both of her books are eye catching. I think this has hit a chord, as in some cases it seems that a cover can sell a book on it's own. You only have to look at the Facebook fan page for Without Alice to see that 'Stephen' (or rather the front cover model) has his own little fanclub.

An exclusive for you now: From chatting to D.J. Kirkby I became intrigued, and eventually asked why she chose to write as D.J.Kirkby. Curiosity led to my question - was it because she didn't like her name, wished to remain gender free, or for some other reason. The actual answer was one I would not have been able to anticipate at the time (pre reading From Zaftig to Aspie). The J is for her brother, Jia. So now you know too. But surely now you want to read the memoir now to find out the full story? I may be able to help you with that:
I have a copy of From Zaftig to Aspie and a copy of Without Alice to give away. If you would like to be included in this competition, please leave a pick me comment after this post and say whether you would like to read one in particular, or both.

I will select the winners on 20 September 2010.

You can follow D.J. Kirkby's blog here at Chez Aspie.
From Zaftig to Aspie Facebook page.

26 comments:

  1. I'd like to read both books as I think it helps you get to "know" and author, From Zaftig to Aspie will strike a personal chord having a family of fellow dyslexics, and am very interested in their world as they see it. Without Alice is also interesting sounding and both are on my Amazon wishlist following Rebeccas recommendations, this means christmas reading!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow Rebecca...you made ME cry while reading this post. Tears of pride....does that make sense? I make no sense to myself that's for sure :) Thank you for this post, I feel honoured.

    Hi Rachel
    My memoir is mostly about me being autistic though the typos and clunky edit are all about me being dyslexic :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Pick me! ~grin~
    In all seriousness we have a copy of From Zaftig to Aspie, but I'd love to read Without Alice given the chance.
    Lovely review by the way, thank you.
    ~doffs cap~
    DK

    ReplyDelete
  4. Pick me!
    I'd love to read 'Without Alice', having read Zaftig last year.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Pick me! I'd love to read it (I'll buy it if I don't win, but I'd love to win!)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi everyone, please say which book (or both) you are interested in if you leave a comment! Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  7. pick me :-) , i would quite like to read both, its always good to read books from an author not known to myself, ( other than through her website....), and with such a high recommendation from yourself, how can i not be intrigued..........

    ReplyDelete
  8. What a great write up for both books. I have read From Zaftig to Aspie but please 'Pick Me' for Without Alice.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Something that I have noticed, is that intimacy between people is dying. When I say intimacy I do not mean of an adult nature. I mean the intimacy of one person letting another person in to their lives absolutely. Wether it be between friends, family, or significant others it is habitualy dieing away. I am one who tries to have this with my friends and family, and to see some one else who is willing to put themselves out there in an intimate nature wether by voice or pen I jump at a chance to drink this ever dissipating act up. So please pick me for From Zaftig to Aspie.

    ReplyDelete
  10. It is wonderful to see DJ getting such critical acclaim from other authors and such popular interest in 'Without Alice'. It is definitely on my wish list and in as much as I wouldn't like to decide on who the winner is I selfishly would like it to be me!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I would love to win, I can't wait to reaf the book :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hi there! I have been a Denise fan for some time .... thank you for this lovely post. She is quite a talent ~ and person!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hi Rebecca!

    I would really like either of them :)
    The books sound so good!

    chidoryx AT hotmail DOT com

    ReplyDelete
  14. You're all lovely! Thank you so much for your interest in my writing!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I would like to read both books. My son has severe dyslexia, and I have fought very hard for him. I am always interested in other peoples lives, and how it has affected them.
    twoofakind12@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  16. Please pick me for from Zaftig to Aspie. I didn't know what Zaftig meant until I asked my partner to google it and a large breasted woman in black stockings and corset appeared on the screen, though quite how she had gotten the damn thing on eluded me. Like me, D J Kirby is an Aspie and I am fascinated to acknowledge that many of them tick the same way I do, so I am interested in reading her book. She follows me on twitter, heck I even follow her and she told me about your competition. I cant say I will read it as fast as you, I am a bit dyslexic myself or is it the ADHD that slows my reading down - but I would like to read it all the same. Expecially now I have seen that sexy picture LOL.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I love memoirs.
    Please pick me! (for neither, I'd love to read both)
    I really loved what I read about those books and I'm eager to read them! (:

    ReplyDelete
  18. Would like to read this book more so after reading DJ Kirby's 'tears of pride' Please pick me.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Katy Langford
    oh pick me for Without Alice pleaseeeeeeee I read the begining of this book on DJ's blog and loved it.
    I have read From Zaftig to Aspie and loved it, well I did have to skip through one part and DJ will know which part I mean!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Both sound interesting - thanks for the great summaries/reviews!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Both sound very intresting and what I would like to read.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Pick me! I know I've been a terrible fan of DJ Kirkby on Facebook, I'm struggling to get myself more sorted and get my book finished too. But pick me, I'd love to win it and read it. Vx

    ReplyDelete
  23. I love memoirs too. I would like to read both books, if not both then either one


    Thank you for theis giveaway.

    CarolNWong)(at)aol(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  24. Please pick me; I hope I'm not too late :P I wouldn't mind either books but I would really like to read From Zaftig to Aspie because I hadn't known D.J. Kirby was dyslexic and well, your review made me feel like I just had to read it! I also hadn't known it was a memoir.. just felt that the blurb was something really intriguing.. :)

    ReplyDelete
  25. Thank you all for the interest in this post.

    I'm pleased to announce that the copy of 'Without Alice' is going to vegemitevix, and the copy of 'From Zaftig to Aspie' to CarolNWong.

    ReplyDelete