Bobby: Man’s best friend as you’ve never seen him before

 

Also available for Kindle at Amazon

I was introduced to Elizabeth Pienaar at the NB Books Authors’ Party earlier this year. A small, beautiful blonde woman with an open face and infectious smile. She was easy to talk to, even easier to listen to, as she is smart, well informed and a good conversationalist. That was my first impression, before we started talking shop.

What are you working on/getting published?

A new book, about to be released, she said. A Young Adult book called Bobby.

Young Adult? I had read only the week before that a multitude of American authors are suddenly finding themselves ranked as YA writers without ever having intended their work for that market. Did you write it as such? I asked.

She hadn’t, but it had become labelled during the publishing process. Labelled for teens, so it could be sold to teens.

What’s it about?

It’s about a dog, told from the dog’s perspective.

Pretty much the perfect elevator pitch, I thought. She hadn’t even needed two minutes. One sentence had me hooked.

Fast Forward two months.

In a charming bookstore in the heart of Melville, the lights are on tonight. Laughter flows out of the two entrances to Love Books at the Bamboo Centre on Rustenburg Road. Leopard’s Leap wine glows in every glass. Beautiful food disrupts happy conversation. In the midst of it all is Elizabeth, taking it all in. They are all here for her, but what they really came for is the book. A book, based on true events, inspired by the life of one creature that many would count insignificant. A dog. An animal so easily taken for granted, overlooked, forgotten. For the lucky few who understand, an animal which should never be taken for granted, overlooked or underestimated.

Elizabeth understands.

She speaks with mirth about her method as a writer, about discipline and belief. She speaks about Bobby, the real Bobby, with great love, from heartfelt remembrance. She looks with reverence to the couple who gave Bobby his final home. Arthur and Ingrid. They are among the attendees.

When she reads from her book, my signed copy burns me through its brown paper bag. I could have bought it a few weeks ago on Kindle, but then I wouldn’t be reading the real thing. Then I wouldn’t be able to hold the paper copy in my hands with the same anticipation, the same first-read jitters.

The cover is beautifully simple. A girl and a dark-coloured Alsatian with hazelnut eyes. A book that every dog-lover would pick up. A book that everyone else might pass by, not knowing what they missed.

 

“People coming, people coming to look!” Elizabeth Pienaar – Bobby

 

I met Bobby on page one. I’d heard about him, read snippets about him, but until I met him I couldn’t have understood the immensity of his presence. Bobby embodies every look, every wag of the tail, every yelp, or bark or whimper of every dog who ever lived. Bobby is the book you read to your children so they can understand the importance of being kind to animals. It’s the book you give to someone who’s been unfortunate enough to have to deal with the loss of a beloved companion. It’s the book that was written expressly to remind us that dogs are not pets, or protectors or mere companions. Dogs are family. And if you treat them right, they’ll love you more than is humanly possible.

Bobby tells the story of a dog who loses his human to death. Afterwards he is repeatedly abandoned by his caretakers until he ends up in a care facility, awaiting adoption or death. Along with so many of his kind waiting for someone to notice them, there is no knowing which of the two will come first.

On the other side of the special barrier, a young girl finds it hard to overcome her grief after losing her dog to Cancer.

Elizabeth Pienaar understands the human condition. She understands what grief is, that everybody deals with it in their own way and that it often defines who we become. In Bobby we have to deal with a new form of grief, a new understanding of our own reactions to the grief of others, whether they are human or not.

This book is not just for teenagers. Young Adult is not an apt label. It should have been labelled more distinctly. It should have been labelled “For humans”. It should be sold in pet stores, at shelters, by breeders and vets. Anyone with a beating heart should get a copy of Bobby. And since you’re going to the bookstore anyway, why not grab one for your friend, sibling, parent, grandparent or boss?

Get Elizabeth Pienaar’s fantastic debut novel (R120) at your local bookstore or buy it from Amazon via Kindle. Also available in Afrikaans as Bobbie. To learn more about the author, visit her website at: elizabethpienaar.com

Ek agter die skerms en Nuwe Stories 2 beskikbaar vir Kindle

Die Nuwe Stories 2 skrywers by die bekendstellingspartytjie in Kaapstad.

Die Nuwe Stories 2 skrywers by die bekendstellingspartytjie in Kaapstad.


Hier volg ´n onlangse onderhoud met Litnet na die publikasie van Nuwe Stories 2 in November 2013.

Nuwe Stories-kortverhaalwedstryd 2013: Onderhoud met Christina van Deventer

Naomi Bruwer, Christina van Deventer

Vertel ons lesers meer van jou verhaal/verhale wat in Nuwe Stories 2 opgeneem is.

My verhaal, “’n Kis vir Boel”, handel oor ’n hond wat ’n jong seun doodbyt. Wanneer dit duidelik word dat die hond aan ’n swart man behoort wat sedert die gebeure vermis is, raak die hele gemeenskap betrokke en is die hond se lewe op die spel.

Ná die aanvanklike keuring het jy die geleentheid gehad om die kortverhaal persgereed te kry met die hulp van raad en keurverslae. Hoe het jy hierdie proses ervaar?

Ek het die proses geniet. Die keurder se verslae was op die man af en die voorgestelde leesstof was interessant en aktueel. My enigste “negatiewe” kommentaar op die proses is dat ek graag kritiek van albei keurders sou wou ontvang, aangesien dit moontlik die ontwikkeling van my verhaal verder
sou verdiep.

Wat is die beste skryfraad waarvan jy al ooit gehoor of gelees het en wat jy probeer om self toe te pas?

Lees. Dit is moontlik ook die grootste hindernis om te oorkom, want ’n mens is geneig om fiksie vir ontspanning te lees. Selfs wanneer ek ontledend lees, raak ek ná ’n hoofstuk of twee meegesleur deur die verhaal (as dit ’n goeie een is) en vergeet ek om op te let na die nuanses. Ongeag daarvan dink ek dat dít wat jy lees in jou onderbewussyn saamgesleep word en ’n uitwerking op jou skryfwerk het, selfs al is dit net deur taalgebruik. Ek het aanvanklik gedink ’n mens moenie so baie lees nie, want dan begin jy soos ander skryf. Ek het intussen my opinie verander.

Die ander skryfraad is die ou een “skrywers skryf”. Baie suksesvolle skrywers sê hulle kan bloot elke ses maande ’n boek op die rakke sit omdat hulle elke dag skryf. Om elke dag te skryf, klink maklik genoeg, maar dit is nie. Dit verg toewyding en dissipline. Ek raak al beter in hierdie opsig, maar dit is ’n roetine wat ’n mens moeilik aanleer, veral omdat die lewe geneig is om tussenbeide te tree.

Wie is die skrywers wie se werk jy die graagste lees, en waarom hou jy van hulle werk?

Ek lees graag die groot kokkedore van Engelstalige ontspanningsfiksie: Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Michael Crighton, ensovoorts. Ek is baie meer kieskeurig wanneer dit by Afrikaanse fiksie kom en lees selde of ooit ’n boek net omdat dit deur iemand geskryf is van wie se vorige boek ek gehou het. Ek word maklik visueel beïnvloed: As die boek ’n aantreklike buiteblad het, sal ek dit koop sonder om spesifiek op te let wie die skrywer is. Dan gaan ek huis toe, lees, en besef/besluit agterna dat hierdie skrywer meer aandag verdien. Dus lees ek in Afrikaans oor die hele spektrum, van Sophia Kapp en Isa Konrad tot PG du Plessis en, meer onlangs, Deon Meyer. Dit is vir my moeilik om iemand spesifieks uit te lig, want ek geniet amper enige skryfwerk wat goed afgerond is en maklik lees, selfs romanse en niefiksie. My enigste vereiste is dat die boek goed moet eindig – ek lees gewoonlik die laaste bladsy in die boek voor ek besluit of ek dit koop. Dit maak dit interessant om dan uit te vind hoe die skrywer en karakters daarby uitgekom het.

Het jy enige verdere planne vir jou skrywersloopbaan?

Ek weet nie of mens regtig in hierdie verband planne kan maak nie. Ek skryf dít wat my hart my forseer om te skryf en hoop dan maar agterna dat daar ’n ontvangslokaal daarvoor sal wees. Ek hoop om as skrywer te ontwikkel en dat mense byval sal vind by my skryfwerk, maar net die tyd sal leer of daar wel ’n skrywersloopbaan op my horison is.

Vind meer uit oor my deelname aan Nuwe Stories 2 deur hier te klik.

As jy nog nie ´n kans gehad het om die bundel in die hande te kry nie, gaan gerus na Amazon vir die Kindle weergawe, of na Kalahari vir die “paperback”.