1 March 2012

Deirdre, the Wanderer: A Modern Picaresque

OK - first things first - what the heck does 'picaresque' mean? (or am I the only one who doesn't know?) Merriam-Webster says:


adj \ˌpi-kə-ˈresk, ˌpē-\
: of or relating to rogues or rascals; also : of, relating to, suggesting, or being a type of fiction dealing with the episodic adventures of a usually roguish protagonist picaresque novel>
Now we know. I'm not sure I would call Deirdre a 'roguish' protagonist but a rascal for sure! The adjective certainly applies. 
Here's a Taste from page 171:
We went back up the gangway to the quay and started through the gardens, the long way back towards the party. Tony kept his arm round me. I started to think that he really did like me and that what I planned to do to him would be nothing but cruel. I was flirting terribly and he didn't deserve it, for it seemed he might have just come round to being a nice guy if I'd only let him go at his own pace anyway. But I needed what he had; and there wasn't any other alternative that I could see now.
 Deirdre the Wanderer by Jonnie Comet, is a very long book with very small print. So it is telling that I was interested and enjoying the story and the characters right until the very last word - and beyond. I'm already looking forward to the next instalment. But I am getting ahead of myself. Let's start with what the book is about. The back cover tells us:
Deirdre's made up her mind - there can be no living where there is no love. But it's winter in Connecticut. And - '...you always hear these stories of stupid runaways who get picked up nearly freezing to death on the streets of Manhattan or whatever. I'm sorry but being homeless in a place like New York is just stupid. At least I had a plan.' And what a plan!
15 year old Deirdre takes off - leaving her absent parents - and travels south, to warmer climes.

I loved Deirdre's voice. She was just the right combination of street smart/naive/immortal/stupid teenage girl. The author carefully researched Deirdre's wanderings and made her adventures realistic as far as pre-9-11 travel. Jonnie Comet says in his forward that he is disappointed that this type of travel would no longer be possible for a lone teenager - as a Mom, I'm thrilled with that reality. It was fun to read Deirdre's adventures and all the characters she met along the way - but had the story been reality, any of these assignations could have been Deirdre's last. That's the great thing about fiction! The reader can transcend reality with Deirdre and enjoy her wanderings.

The travel is one part of the novel - but what kept me reading had more to do with the growth and change we see in Deirdre as she moves through each situation she finds herself in. Mr Comet carefully and skillfully directs Deirdre from that naive 15 year old girl to an experienced, and much more savvy, woman of the world. It will be exciting to see where her travels take her next - and how she will grow and change in the process.

I would like to reiterate the warning on the back cover - This book contains mature themes - NOT for younger eyes. This is an adult book.

Jonnie Comet's Deirdre, the Wanderer, now the definitive Third Edition, is available in paperback and Kindle editions through Amazon.com --for those who dare to leave the dock.

Character Development          5
Editing                                      5
Sex                                            5
Violence                                  0
Romance                                 3
Readability/Flow                     5


  1. Haha, I always confuse picaresque with picturesque!

    Looks like a good read!

  2. i have never heard odthis word Dana. I'm noting it. This sounds like the kind of books i,m currently reading. Off to my TBR i go.

  3. Oh I sure did not know what the word meant o_O But I learnt something new

  4. Many thanks to Dana for her kind words and willingness to read and review this book, truly a labour of love on both her part and mine!

    The subtitle mentioned may bring to some readers' minds that of 'Frankenstein: A Modern Prometheus'; and there are more than a few other similarities there as well.

    Also Dana wisely notes that this is a pre-9/11 story. I don't think anyone could get away with any of what this girl does today, anywhere. But perhaps it goes to the idealism of the work.

    I recently posted some Q&A about this book on my blog, if Dana will be so kind as to let me include the link--

    Thanks again for your interest, Dana-- and the 1st (of 4) sequels is already out! :)


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