Showing posts with label Daniel Ford. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Daniel Ford. Show all posts

Thursday, January 11, 2018

"Sid Sanford Lives!" by Daniel Ford

Sid Sanford Lives!
by Daniel Ford

Sid Sanford Lives! by Daniel Ford

Sid Sanford Lives! by Daniel Ford is currently on tour with Reading Addiction Book Tours. The tour stops here today for my review and an excerpt. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

Riffing on noir and told in a series of vignettes, Sid Sanford Lives! douses humanistic themes - love, loss, and family - in bourbon, shoves them in the barrel of a gun, and shoots. This emotionally-charged debut is sure to keep readers up late into the night to find out who is left standing.
Sid Sanford always follows a path, just not his own. From backyard Wiffle ball games to New York City skyscrapers, Sid finds triumph and pain in equal measure during his uncertain, and at times violent, thrust into manhood.
A colorful, loyal family, a plethora of eccentric friends, and a few star-crossed soul mates highlight his journey, but it’s ultimately up to Sid whether his destiny fulfills his potential or drowns in the bottom of a bottle.

As always, Sid Sanford was following some plan, just not his own.
He debated whether or not to jump the ticket line in Grand Central like a prick. He finally picked up his duffel bag and darted in front of two male tourists who were already sipping out of tall boys disguised in paper bags.
“What the hell, dude?” One of them asked.
“Take me two seconds,” Sid said, already striking the touch screen.
“There’s a line back there,” the other said.
“I see it, I was just there. And now I’m here. The less we talk, the more I can focus on getting out of your way.”
Sid ignored the other comments from the rest of the pissed-off rush hour commuters and eagerly slid his debit card into the black prongs.
Unable to read card, the screen flashed. Please swipe again.
He impatiently obliged and started tapping his foot as if he were trapped in a meeting while in dire need of ridding himself of his morning coffee.
The transaction timed out.
The machine finally read his card. He grabbed his ticket and bolted toward track twenty-six. He sprinted across the station’s opulent waiting area, his worn brown shoes desperately gripping the slick, polished marble floor. He hustled through the gate and could see the train’s conductor signaling the final boarding call to the people on the platform. He slowed and power walked the final few feet. The doors snapped shut as soon as he stepped into the train bound for Waterbury.
Sid took a moment to savor the mundane victory and then found an open aisle seat. He tossed his bag onto the narrow rack above his head after pulling out his laptop and headphones. He put his ticket in the slot on the headrest in front of him and settled into the bruised maroon and dull blue plastic seats. He opened up his computer, found a decent playlist to zone out to, and closed his eyes.
His phone vibrated in his pocket. He looked down to find Constance’s name scrawling across the screen.
“Son of a—” He stopped himself when he caught a glance of the elderly woman sitting next to the window. “Sorry.”
The woman shrugged.
He dug his phone out and took a breath before answering it.
“Make it?” Constance asked.
“Yeah, on the train now.”
“Good. Have a safe trip.”
“Thanks. And thanks for checking up on me.”
“It’s what I’m here for,” she said. “Listen, I know we’ve had our differences lately…and well…since we’ve known each other. But I’m always here if you need anything. I know how you get with things like this. You shut down and won’t let people in. That’s not what you deserve right now.”
“Yeah. Appreciate it. We’re pulling out of the station. I’m going to sleep a bit.”
“Don’t miss your transfer.”
“I won’t.”
“Let me know when you get there. I love you.”
“Okay, bye.”
Sid leaned his head back and tried his best to suppress a memory of Jocelyn. She had moved into an apartment not long ago and had asked for his help. He had gotten assigned a high school track event and couldn’t make it. She assumed he was lying so he could spend time chasing after Constance. She wasn’t completely wrong—he could have easily caught a train out of the city after the meet—but he had fought with her all the same.
He ended up coming home after Constance broke up with him weeks later, armed with champagne and his mother’s whoopie pies. He had another surprise for her—he couldn’t remember what it is now—but instead of just handing it to her and winning back her friendship, he made her negotiate for it.
“Always the asshole,” Sid muttered.

“Give me a hint,” Jocelyn said.
“No,” Sid said.
“Why not?”
“Because any hint I come up with will ruin the surprise.”
“You’re probably right, men suck at giving hints.”
“What if I told you that you couldn’t have anymore?”
She covered the last few bits of his whoopie pie. Any other Sanford might have bitten her hand off, but he remained calm and defiant.
“I’d have to give it up.”
“Are you serious, Sid?”
“You were just having an intimate moment with that thing a minute ago, and now you’d just let it go because you don’t want to give me a little hint about my surprise?”
“Is there anything I can do to change your mind? More food perhaps?”
Yes, actually, he thought. Fall in love with me. Marry me. Tell me not to leave ever again. Just say you love me and I’ll give you anything you want for the rest of my life.
“Nope,” he said instead.
Sid wished he could tell her how much he loved her, how achingly beautiful she was.
But he didn’t.
“I thought I was doing you a favor by procuring you some whoopie pies, and come to find out, you’re lobbying my mother for them the whole time,” Sid said.
“And she said I could come over anytime I wanted, so there,” Jocelyn said. “I really just need her to teach me how to make them.”
“At that point she’d disown me. I would be useless to her. Then she’d adopt you.”
“See! Everybody wins!”
Later, he went to peck her on the cheek, but instead kissed her full on the lips. It lasted a heartbeat, but he poured more passion into it than any other kiss he could remember.
“What was that for?” She asked.
I love you, he didn’t say.
“I’m proud of you,” Sid actually said.
“For what?”
“Just everything. If you ever want company again, just let me know.”
“I will.”
“I’d walk through fire to get back here to you.”

Sid coughed, urging the tears to wait until he landed in the passenger seat of his father’s car. The train pulled out of the underground tunnel and the brick and grime of Harlem appeared in the window.
He put his headphones on and turned on Neil Young’s “Cowgirl in the Sand.” He tapped the keyboard for a moment, unwilling to allow his urge to start Jocelyn’s eulogy to overpower him. However, it did in short order so he created a blank document and wrote,
“I met Jocelyn during a backyard Wiffle ball game.”
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
“It’s no wonder that baseball is at the center of this compelling drama. There’s something quintessentially American about Ford’s writing, an understanding of the complex familial love between working-class parents and big-dreaming children. At the heart of Sid, though, is how those bonds shift and ultimately tighten in the face of violence.” ~ Erica Wright, author of The Granite Moth and The Red Chameleon
“In his debut novel, Daniel Ford knocks the stuffing out of Sid Sanford, only to skillfully stitch him back together, presenting a complex, flawed, and compelling character - one who’s bound to break your heart. Sid Sanford Lives! is a wry, touching, and captivating portrait of the highs and lows that make up a life.” ~ W.B. Belcher, author of Lay Down Your Weary Tune
“Sid Sanford loves three things: baseball, his family, and women. Sid has a big heart, and gives it away time and again, usually with disastrous results. Daniel Ford’s fine, sensitive debut novel, Sid Sanford Lives!, follows a young man as he comes of age, matures, and gains both wisdom and a measure of peace.” ~ Anne Leigh Parrish, author of Women Within and What is Found, What is Lost
“Achingly funny and sad. Full of life, loss, and baseball.” ~ Daniel Paisner, author of A Single Happened Thing

My Review
I received this book in return for an honest review.

By Lynda Dickson
Sid and Jocelyn have been best friends since they were ten. Through multiple girlfriends and breakups, Jocelyn has always been there for Sid. But when he moves way to college, he meets Constance. He falls in love with her, but his relationship with Jocelyn complicates things. When tragedy strikes, Sid struggles to cope. Between his drunken bouts and multiple casual sexual encounters, the support of his family and friends might be the only thing keeping him alive.
Permeated with images of baseball, the story jumps backwards and forwards in time and is told from multiple points of view. I love the interactions between the characters and the easy-going banter and ribbing, especially between Sid and his brothers. Sid is a rogue, but you just can't help but like him, as well as the whole mixed bag of characters. There is a lot of telling, not showing, but this works in a literary context. It also feels a bit rushed, especially towards the end. I would have enjoyed spending more time with Sid and his family. Editing errors including spelling, capitalization, punctuation, and the incorrect use of homophones.
Warnings: coarse language, sex scenes, underage drinking, violence.

Playlist for Sid Sanford Lives!

About the Author
Daniel Ford
Daniel Ford is an author, journalist, and the co-founder/co-host of Writer’s Bone, a literary website and podcast that champions aspiring authors and screenwriters. Sid Sanford Lives! is his debut novel. Ford lives with his fiancĂ©e Stephanie in Boston, Massachusetts. He can often be found coaxing words out of a half-empty bourbon glass.