Two years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Jeannette native Heather Abraham when she was looking for someone to help publicize her debut novel, “The Bookie’s Daughter.” I read the book and instantly fell in love with it.
The daughter of notorious Jeannette bookie Big Al Abraham, Heather had quite a story to tell about her childhood experiences and the life of crime she and her sister were forced to live. The book was both sad and comical, and was a great showing of Heather’s talents as a master storyteller. After reading the last words in that book, I immediately told Heather she had to write more – to not do so would be a huge disservice to her readers.
Two months ago, Heather asked me to copyedit her second novel, aptly titled “DisOrganized Crimes: Dysfunctional Tales from The Bookie’s Daughter.” I was honored to once again be involved with one of her projects, and even more so when she told me I was the first person to read the book in its entirety and with the chapters in their intended order.
Sometimes when authors have a great debut novel, they never realize that kind of success again. Not so with Heather. I found myself laughing, crying and shouting out loud at her manuscript. Heather gives readers a glimpse into her dysfunctional and sometimes tragic childhood, all the while keeping her sense of humor. The great Charlie Chaplin once said that, “to truly laugh, you must be able to take your pain, and play with it.” Heather is the epitome of Chaplin’s words, bringing her pain to the printed page and inviting her readers to join her while she laughs in the face of it.
As a child, Heather measured her family life against those of popular sitcoms The Brady Bunch (1969-74) and The Partridge Family (1970-74) – with parents who modeled the ethics and social norms they wished their children to follow. But when your father is a bookie and your mother is a trigger-happy alcoholic, ethics and social norms be damned. Children of crime not by choice, but by birthright, Heather and her sister were plunged into a dangerous life of crime, where gambling, police raids and midnight runs for illegal goods were commonplace – not exactly the kind of adventures the Brady kids were having each week.
DisOrganized Crimes is a collection of stories of the kind of adventures that were commonplace for Heather and her sister as children, but utterly outrageous to those of us who were fortunate enough to be graced with what could be considered a normal childhood. One of my favorite stories in the book is the one which inspired the cover of DisOrganized Crimes. Like so many things in her early childhood, what starts out as a wonderful event for Heather quickly ends in heart-wrenching disappointment.
DisOrganized Crimes grabs readers by the seat of their pants and drags them into the dysfunctional and uncivilized existence of the Abraham family. Join Heather as she provides a glimpse inside the wild and crazy childhood that shaped her character, but never broke her spirit.
DisOrganized Crimes is available April 27 on Amazon.
Shari L. Berg is the owner/operator of The Write Reflection, and a writing professional for 25 years.