Q&A with George Hodgman, author of Bettyville, BFF, funniest, warmest, kindest most outrageous friend this poor little publishing girl has ever had. George, here is to nearly 30 years of friendship in the great game of life, love and publishing. Your memoir is everything and more. Dear all: treat yourself to this brilliant book and buy one for a friend. And if you can stop by for a reading if there’s one in your town (tour dates below) you will definitely have a great night. Love, Sue Mengers (aka me)
Q: When you were an editor, what was the worst trait you see in an author.
Bullheaded contentment with utter mediocrity coupled with Hush Puppies worn during office visits.
Q What is your worst trait as an author?
Intense preoccupation with quality until the ms. goes into production. Exhaustion in the last laps. I fade too fast. Prematurely so to speak. Now I wish I had another chance for just one more go-round. I needed editorial Viagra.
Q All the years you spent editing, did you ever think you would write your own book? Let’s just say, I think my authors wished I would…
I always, always wanted to, but I had given up. I really had. However, I have learned that giving up, letting the pressure off can sometimes lead to good things. From now on, I intend to give up more often.
I am thinking of taking up tennis just so I can give it up. Perhaps this will take me to Forest Hills.
QUESTION TO READERS: What do you want in a memoir?
PRAISE for BETTYVILLE
“BETTYVILLE is a gorgeous memoir. I was completely engaged, not just because of George Hodgman’s great ear and his sense of timing and, but because he delivers Betty to us in such a manner that she steps off the page. I felt transported to a better place, to a time period and a web of relationships with which we can all identify, no matter where we grew up. Beyond the humor and the pathos, the quotidian and the bizarre, there remain profound lessons about life and love that I will carry away.”
—Abraham Verghese, author of Cutting for Stone
“BETTYVILLE is an exquisitely written memoir about the complicated but deeply genuine love a son feels for his courageous, headstrong, vulnerable mother in the twilight of her life. George Hodgman is stunningly clear-eyed and yet so darn big-hearted. Bettyville is just wonderful.”
–Jeanette Walls, author of The Glass Castle
“The idea of a cultured gay man leaving New York City to care for his aging mother in Paris, Missouri, is already funny, and George Hodgman reaps that humor with great charm. But then he plunges deep, examining the warm yet fraught relationship between mother and son with profound insight and understanding. This book looks outside, too, offering a moving lament for small-town America. Hodgman tenderly evokes the time before family farms and small businesses were replaced by meth labs and Walmarts. BETTYVILLE is a beautiful book about the strange plenitude that comes from finally letting go of everything.” —Alison Bechdel, author of Fun Home
10/1 Heartland Fall Forum
3/10 Barnes & Noble Upper West Side
3/12 Politics & Prose
3/13 Books & Books
3/14 Vero Beach Book Center
3/16 Book Passage
3/17 Books Inc.
3/18 Book Soup