Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I Like Mandarin




my cousin Jason ... or my cousin David.

Today's post is in support of the release of Kirsten Hubbard's novel, Like Mandarin. In Kirsten's own words:

In Like Mandarin, 14-year-old Grace Carpenter would give anything to be like 17-year-old Mandarin Ramey -- the bold, carefree wild girl of their small Wyoming town.

This is sort of a non-tour blog tour, in that it wasn't really planned ahead, and participation is totally optional. I actually don't know Kirsten as well as I do some other bloggers, and I haven't read Like Mandarin yet, but I love to lend a hand to other writers, and I keep hearing wonderful things about this book, so I thought I would play whatever little part I could.

You can visit Kirsten's blog post about the non-tour, here, but you should definitely follow her blog if you aren't already anyway, so I'll wait a second while you do that ...

... and you're back. Excellent.

So the idea behind the tour is to talk about someone in your own life who you looked up to in the way that Grace looked up to Mandarin.

My mom died when I was eleven years old. Dad was out of the picture, so my little sister and I moved to Minnesota to live with our aunt and uncle. The first year I was there I shared a room with my cousin Jason, who was a senior in high school.

He was oh so cool.

He was a linebacker, captain of the football team, popular beyond comprehension, and well liked by what were to me, countless beautiful women. I wanted to be like him so badly. Jason went on to attend the Air Force Academy, play more football, and eventually serve our country. Not a bad role model.

I spent my summers in Atlanta with another aunt and uncle. My cousin David was the one I looked up to most down there. David was an intellectual. He got his bachelors of political science from Duke University, worked in the Peace Corps for a few years, then returned to attend graduate school at Vanderbilt. David also worked at a cool independent bookstore, played D&D with me, and loved hanging out, even though I was probably a really annoying little punk.

What about you? Have you read Like Mandarin? Do you follow Kirsten's blog? Is there anyone you looked up to the way Grace looked up to Mandarin?

32 comments:

Natalie Aguirre said...

Thanks for sharing something so totally personal. Casey and I shared ours yesterday since she has a guest post today if you want to check it out. I was so glad to support a debut author. It's so cool to get the word out. And hopefully we'll be able to do that for each other some day.

Laura Pauling said...

I don't blame you one bit for looking up to your cousin. Sounds like you have your own Like Mandarin story brewing there. I'm looking forward to reading the book! Thanks for sharing.

Theresa Milstein said...

Thank for sharing your story. I'm glad you had people to take care of you and look up to.

When I heard about the book, I began to follow the blog. I have her novel on my wish list.

And I also wrote a post on the topic:

http://theresamilstein.blogspot.com/2011/03/effort-to-seem-effortless.html

Ted Cross said...

I never had anyone to look up to all through school, even college. Perhaps that is why all those years are best left in the trashbin of the past for me. I guess I did admire the sheer talent of Tal Shaked, whom I met when he was 8 and it was already clear he had something magical. He later became the world junior chess champion and a strong grandmaster before giving it all up to work for Google.

Jen Daiker said...

Such love for Kirsten! Great choice for your Manadarin!!! Family can leave such an impression in life!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

LOL The answers to your questions are on my blog today.

Wow, what an amazing role model to have. Once I moved to north America from England when I was 11, I lost contact with my English cousins. And I haven't seen my Finnish ones in Twenty years (when I lived there for the summer in university).

Katie Mills said...

I loved reading about your real-life mandarins. I was the oldest of five so I looked up to my older cousins a lot too. I haven't read Mandarin but I'm hoping to soon!

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

Wow, you have some really cool role models there! No wonder you turned out okay. :) And have I been out of the loop so long that I missed the name change??

p.s. that picture with your daughter on the side bar is A.D.O.R.A.B.L.E!

Christina Lee said...

Matt, I loved hearing about this (see, you turned out to be cool just like them)!

And yay, you changed your pic to the one of you and your daughter--love!

aspiring_x said...

wow! your cousins sound like amazing guys!
i guess my mandarin was (and still is) my mom. that woman continues to blow my mind everyday with her awesomeness! :)

Carrie said...

Cousins are awesome role models. One of my cousins had a pair of jeans that he magic markered band names on. For a while I picked out music based on seeing their name on my cousins jeans.

L.G.Smith said...

Ah, nice post. My grandmother is the person I look up to the most. She's gone now, but I still think about her almost every day.

Melissa said...

Wow Matt. Thanks for sharing something so personal.

Cousins really are great role models. One of my cousins is four years older than me and I totally looked up to her!

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

i wanted to jump on this blogfest but i just never really idolized anyone growing up. It's weird. I was always pretty happy being me.
Your cousin's sound awesome. I can totally understand the love

Ishta Mercurio said...

I love this post! I love that your two cousins were so different, yet you saw wonderful things in both of them that you wanted to emulate. Go, little Matt! :-) And I love the honesty you show here. Thanks for sharing this.

Ishta Mercurio said...

Forgot to say that I have a LIKE MANDARIN post up, too, for anyone who wants to check it out. Clicking on my picture should get you there, or on the way to there. :-)

Carolyn Abiad said...

I'm the oldest sibling and cousin, so I didn't have anyone. Well, maybe the girl down the street, but not really. In 4th grade I wrote a story about a 16 year old sister who would take me cool places. She was my make-believe version of your cousin David. Sweet, patient, awesome...kudos to the real cousins who inspire!

Robin_Lucas said...

Hey! You changed your pic. I had to double check a few times to make sure it was your blog :)

(cute pic)

I looked up to my sister. She had the coolest clothes and knew all of the popular songs.

Elana Johnson said...

Matt, this is a fantastic post! What a great tribute to your cousin Jason. And David.

*hugs*

Old Kitty said...

All the best to Kirsten and her fab book!!!

I think I want to marry your cousin.

Take care
x

Elle Strauss said...

Like Mandarin, sounds compelling...can't wait to check it out.

Lindsay said...

What a great tribute to your cousins. I'm the oldest sibling and cousin, so I never had this. My Mandarins were my friends ;)

ali said...

Well first, I'm sorry to hear about your mom and dad. But SO amazed and happy to hear about these two awesome guys you had to look up to. Makes me want to just give those guys big ol' hugs. Good for them.

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

Aw, what a tough time you must've had losing your mom so young. But how great that you had such terrific role models in your life back then.

By the way, love your new profile pic!

Lydia K said...

What a great post. I haven't read the book yet but I want to. It's on my list. There were a couple of girls I went to school with I totally looked up to. Free spirits, for sure.

Bethany Elizabeth said...

This is a great post. I always looked up to my friend Jenna, who was gorgeous, outgoing, and laughed all the time. We were, and are, totally different people, but she definitely influenced my life.

Jemi Fraser said...

David and Jason sound like awesome roll models for a young boy!! Great choices :)

I'm currently reading Like Mandarin - it's beautifully written. :)

Kelly said...

So heartwarming to hear that you had such great male role models in your life, especially not having your parents around in your teens which must have been so difficult. I'll bet your cousins think pretty highly of you, too!
I need to go back a few posts. When did you change your name?!!!

Melissa Bradley said...

It's that you had such awesome people in your life after losing your mom so young. Thanks for sharing. I wanted most to be a bit more like Therese Puchalski, she was the exact opposite of me and always seemed to have it together.

Robyn Campbell said...

Matt, I had to come to read this after noticing it this morning. What a lovely tribute.

Thanks for sharing it with us, the world.

(Love the Irish last name. Very you. :)

Katrina L. Lantz said...

What an awesome idea for a book and a non-blogfest! Your heroes are definitely worth looking up to!

I've been absent the blogging world for a bit and just noticed-HOLY CANOLI- you changed your name! I assume this is to keep the p0rnstar Google correlations to a minimum. :) Well done. It's a cool name and keeps the ending digraph you just wouldn't be you without. Matthew MacNish, you are going places.

Kirsten Hubbard said...

I love this post! thank you so much for participating, and best of luck with your books! <3