On occasion, I have reason to stop by Deep Vellum Books in Deep Ellum. For an author event, usually, but not always. (I should note, in interest of complete transparency, that Deep Vellum’s publishing arm has seen fit to publish two of my books.) Almost always, when I leave, I am loaded down with advance reader copies of forthcoming Deep Vellum titles. Late last year, I came home with a copy of Jane Saginaw’s Because the World is Round.
On the back cover, I saw that Saginaw grew up in Dallas and had come home to pursue her Ph.D. at the University of Texas at Dallas and that she had previously worked as a trial lawyer and also in the Clinton administration as regional administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Region Six. I read a ton, so it doesn’t take very much to get me to pick something up once it enters my house. How quickly I get through it, though, depends on how it hits me once I do. I plowed through Saginaw’s book in maybe three days.
It’s an affecting story of a teenage Saginaw on a tour through Europe and Asia with her parents and brother in the early 1970s, after selling the family business (a chain of brake shops). Interesting enough, but it has an extra layer: Saginaw’s mother was a polio survivor, confined to a wheelchair. A teenager coming of age and dealing with an expanding view of the world around her, while also dealing with a loving but complicated relationship with her mother? Great book, could be a movie, too.
I picked a selection to excerpt from the book, which we ran in our February issue. It’s online now.