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Jacqueline Goldman
Author, Service Provider
Is it possible that the entirety of one's life has been steered by the hand of fate towards a single moment? For Brooklyn French program teacher - and single parent of two- Tess Shapiro, it would certainly seem so. After discovering that her life and her marriage were artificial constructs based on lies and deceit, Tess must undergo the ultimate reality check. She delves deep into her subconscious, venting her frustrations by indulging in a lifelong habit of drawing graphic novels starring her glamorous alter ego, an international spy by the name of Andrea Chambers. Meanwhile, in the real world, anti-French terrorism is taking the world by storm. What, and who, is behind the vile attacks against French-speaking people everywhere from Brooklyn to Burundi? As she suspects that her new lover may not be who she thought he was, Tess's ability to perceive truth through a distorted collage of deception, brings comic book fantasy and real world tragedy crashing together in a whirlwind of romance and political intrigue. When, in a single moment, Tess realizes the totality of the lie she has been fed and believed, and the impossibility of the truth, she makes a staunch decision that will change her life, and how she perceives the world, forever.
Plot/Idea: 9 out of 10
Originality: 10 out of 10
Prose: 8 out of 10
Character/Execution: 9 out of 10
Overall: 9.00 out of 10


Plot: After a somewhat slow start, the narrative picks up speed as Tess's life begins to unravel. With the promise of new love and a fresh start, Tess and the reader hopefully look to the future, only to realize that the truth is satisfyingly more twisted than it seems.

Prose: Goldman’s prose is an eclectic and successful mix of dialects and eloquent emotions—baby-talk in Tess’s realm of single mother-dom, French at her work and school; love-struck stumbling as her infatuation grows, and alternating pessimism and positivity as she struggles to find her place in the world.

Originality: This is an intellectually stimulating mixed-media adventure that feels completely original. A protagonist that relies on art as catharsis and as an escape isn't new, but the incorporation of the graphic elements elevates the text and feels fresh. 

Character: Goldman effectively depicts the effects of a deterioration of family dynamics and broken relationships on her characters. She also shows how Tess’s journey is eventually one of healing thanks to the support of her allies.

Date Submitted: August 28, 2018