I had the pleasure of meeting Dorothy Rice Bennett recently at a book reading and signing for her new release, The Artemis Adventure. The local author talked about the efforts it took to recover a manuscript from a format no longer supported by current operating systems and the challenges of publication. And I’m glad it’s out now and available to read!
The Artemis Adventure is a journey of self-discovery for the protagonist, Kiki Rodriguez. Kiki was open to every experience and that curiosity served her well. Her tumultuous beginnings in the South Bronx had her focused on a blinking star that she found in the heavens and called Artemis from Greek mythology.
Kiki dreamed of being a college student even though she hadn’t finished high school. Nevertheless she followed that star across country and found herself at the gates of Montrose, a womyn’s college. Talk about a lucky star!
What I loved best about The Artemis Adventure is that it represents a universe that supports and wants us to succeed. What are the chances of an 18-year-old leaving the Bronx alone with very little money and no visible support, and successfully negotiating a cross-country journey to find her dream and not come to harm? One hundred percent!
It’s practically a how-to guide on how a teenager navigates our culture to achieve young womynhood! In order for that to happen, one has to encounter responsible adult allies.
Sal is a trucker that Kiki encounters when the bus she was on left her behind. The trucker not only gives Kiki a ride as far West as she is going but Sal and her partner become ‘Aunties’. They continue to support Kiki long after she leaves them to continue her journey.
From there Kiki finds a posted message for a car of young folks looking for a rider to help with gas. They drop her after dark at the gates of a college in California and she is able to safely spend the night there on campus. When she needed a job she found one nearby and the owner turned out to be a kind and good friend. He invited her home and introduced Kiki to his teenage daughters when she had no place to go for the holidays. Over and over a series of serendipitous encounters leads Kiki to a college degree and the perfect romantic partner.
Here is a quote.
“So, after a year, how do you feel?” (Sal asks.)
“Well, I still feel like I’ve died and gone to heaven, if you know what I mean. All the things I’m learning, all the things I’m exposed to, that I could never have experienced if I’d stayed at home—it’s so amazing that it’s almost unbelievable. I’m still awed by it. At times, I also get scared, lonely, and homesick and, when I’m tired, I just don’t think I can keep it up for three more years.”
“But you’re going to try, aren’t you?” Sal asked with a bit of apprehension.
“Oh, yes. I won’t quit. I’m just fearful that one day there will be a challenge that’s bigger than I am and I won’t make it. That scares me a lot. However, as long as I can see a way through the problems, day by day, I won’t give up.”
“So far, when you’ve needed something, it’s been there, hasn’t it?”
Kiki nodded. “Money, jobs, housing. Everything. Not fancy, not easy, but enough. Each time I thought I was at the end of my rope, I got an idea or something opened up. It was really unexpected. People have been so good to me.”
Sal smiled. “Perhaps they have been so good because you have given them reason to be.”
From the title of the book to its romantic conclusion I thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend The Artemis Adventure. It is very well written and flows nicely. While it is lesbian fiction it is so much more than that, including age and racial diversity. It has just been published in October 2017 and is available online at Amazon, and Barnes and Noble, and at Outskirts Press. https://outskirtspress.com/webPage/isbn/9781478791911
You can connect with the author on twitter @AlicelMcCracke1, or find her online www.dorothyricebennett.com
She is currently at work on her next literary project which has a working title of Love in the Olympics that is set right here in Sequim!