Thursday, December 22, 2005
A Bit of Sass by Sarah McCarty
A Bit of Sass was flawless.
Every character came to life for me in this well-crafted, tightly written story. McCarty’s heroine is at once self-conscious and empowered; hopeful and devastated; relaxed and poised to fight. In short, Sass is a parent. Never being able to put fully into words what my own role as mother means, I was captivated by McCarty’s wrenchingly honest portrayal. In the span of a few pages, I could be found nodding vigorously, laughing out loud and suspended in heartache.
Jacob is equally authentic. His circumstances and life experiences are believable and his expectations for himself astonishingly poignant. Watching McCarty expose the depth of his emotions, first through humor then anguish, is a treat for every woman who thinks there are no good ones left.
CJ and Corrine, Sass’ children, are every bit as much a part of McCarty’s emotional tale as the romantic couple. They are individuals; painted with a singularity, humor and complete absence of humility that define what it is to be childlike. Another nod to the steady, unrelenting hand McCarty uses to draw her characters. Every parent—mother and father—will recognize these children. And love them.
Sarah McCarty is an auto-buy author for me for three reasons: characterization, voice and writing skill. A Bit of Sass delivers flawlessly on all three. It is so well written, I barely noticed the words on the page. They were merely the vehicle by which I was transported into the world of Jacob and Sass.
McCarty’s voice—her wit, appreciation for life and emotional honesty—rings genuinely from beginning to end. In fact, she imparts so much of herself in Sass that I wondered how much of A Bit of Sass could be autobiographical.
Finally, her characterization in A Bit of Sass is unmatched. Readers will not find this depth of characterization in any other novella, particularly in this genre. Bucking every trend and expectation, McCarty drops readers into the middle of Sass and Jacob’s relationship. By doing so, she overcomes the issues of believability, trust and acceptance so common in this format.
Sarah McCarty stands 10 stories higher than her nearest peer. Her work—and A Bit of Sass is no exception—is beautifully written, superbly edited and utterly captivating.