Tris and Izzie dedication and review

Tris and Izzie is dedicated to Scott Abbott. Scott was my first German professor my freshman year in college. I read Tristan in his intro to German Literature class and it was a revelation. All my life, I had been struggling with boredom in classes. In elementary school it was the worst, but even in high school, I was tempted to leave a year early because I was just so bored. Boredom has to be the worst punishment in the world.

The summer before my official freshman year started, I took 3 Junior level classes, 2 in the German department, and 1 in the English department. Computers weren’t quite smart enough then to tag students who hadn’t taken prerequisites and I wish they still didn’t do it now. It was the most amazing thing for me to be thrown into junior level classes at that age. There was no more boredom. I loved it! I remember my English teacher found out later (my picture was in the paper because of the scholarship I got) and he told me that he was sorry he wasn’t giving me an A, but that if I’d taken the class after a couple of years, I would probably have done better. I told him I didn’t care if I got an A and I didn’t. I learned so much in that class. It was worth the lower grade.

College was this wonderful world for me where I could take any classes I wanted for any reason I wanted. It didn’t cost extra. I did have to convince the dean to allow me to take more than the 18 normal maximum credit hours slowly, so that I could prove I could keep my scholarship, but I did that. I also could take classes through the mail, and I did that, too. Scott’s German class was in the middle of this glorious experience of delicious knowledge. He led discussions about love and romance that made me think that literature really mattered. More than that, he made me believe that my love of romance novels wasn’t necessarily a terrible thing.

My career in Germanstik didn’t quite continue so happily along that path. I did eventually get my PhD, but it turned out that not everyone in university positions was as open-minded or as interesting as Scott was. He and I left the same university around the same time (give or take a few years) and went on to find careers that better suited our interests and personalities. He’s still teaching. But when I went back to Tristan as source for this book, it was obvious who the book should be dedicated to. I don’t dedicate books to people out of obligation. It just sort of comes to me who the book belongs to at one stage or another. My kids are still waiting for their books. And my husband, for that matter.

I realized at a certain point this year that I should probably tell Scott I was dedicating a book to him. He and I haven’t been in contact for years, but I sent him an email wondering if he wanted to do lunch. We talked dates back and forth for a while, but nothing came of it. When the official pub date of Tris and Izzie came around, I put the book in an enveloped and mailed it to him with a short inscription. No letter. I was honestly nervous that he wouldn’t think much of it. It’s light and it’s YA fiction, and well, it’s romance. I didn’t want him to have to pretend he was happy, and I didn’t want to see his face if he hated it. So I left it at that.

But last week I got a wonderful email from him. He blogged about the book, and it seemed that the dedication meant something to him, as it came when he was wondering about his teaching skills. But more than that, he liked the book. He got the humor. He got the little tips of the hat to the original. He understood how weird it was to juxtapose medeival German epic to modern high school. Of all the reviews I’ve had of all my books, this has to be in the top 2.

"Izzie is 16 and loves Mark, a basketball player and nice guy. She loves his butt in tight pants and loves to kiss him. When her affections switch to Tristan, she likes his butt even better. Izzie is the antithesis of the passive magic teen princess heroine. She’s a real teenager. Okay, she’s also got magic. Okay, the story based loosely on Gottfried’s Tristan has a happy ending (although when the black sails appeared at the end I feared tragedy).

But best of all, at least for me, was that it’s just plain funny. Juxtapose a tragic epic German poem with high school and, if you write well, you’ve got a book that makes you laugh. What a fun day it was reading this.”

Go here to see the full review.