A Better Place To Be
Based on the Harry Chapin Song
by David Wind
Genre: Contemporary Fiction 166 pages
A story about life, though perhaps not the one you would choose to live.
inspired by the characters from the Harry Chapin song of the same name, 'A Better Place To Be’ is a story of love, loss, and the ability to overcome the worst that life can throw at someone and come out the other side.
That word just comes to mind over and over, in regards to this book, along with the phrase, heart-wrenching. It's good though - incredibly, in a makes-you-feel-things-and-think-things brilliantly good.
Upon first meeting John, he's likable enough. He soon turns out to be sweet and the reader would have to be dead to not feel his love for Claire - and it is mutual. So the two of them have this great, comfortable thing...until tragedy strikes. Then the reader is treated to a gut-wrenching, realistic, accurate view of what happens all too often to too many people. I doubt there's a person alive who cannot relate to this... Still, Wind puts it all so simply and so realistically, it's like nothing I've ever read or am likely to read again.
Not only does he repeatedly rip out my heart and stomp all over it - and I like it somehow, so apparently I'm some kind of sadist - but he perfectly portrays a good - better than average actually- man turning into completely something different, as a result of the bulls--- that life has thrown at him....
....Point is, if you want a book that's real and will make you think, this is the one.
If you don't want to think but like a book that'll give you all the feels, this is also the one. It's well detailed with perfect continuity.
And did I mention it's based on a song? 'A Better Place to Be' by Harry Chapin, a song that'll never be the same for me. It seems completely natural as if the book IS the song and the song IS the book. Brilliantly perfect. -------- J.L. Redding, Reviewer
David Wind has written a 5 Star story about a wonderful couple – so happy and in love - and then surprises us with one of life’s heaviest blows. The reader indeed becomes “John Edghes” as John endures one of the cruelest fates that life can impose - tremendous loss, resulting in utter despair, loneliness, and addiction. He descends into an addiction as a means to cover up the horror of it all. John goes down that black hole (amazing how deep that hole can get) and he must make a decision to climb out in order to survive or go further down into that bottomless pit. After all, life goes on, with or without you.
John faces seemingly endless challenges as he makes his way back into life.
John eventually learns he is not the only lonely person in the world. People need people and life does indeed go on.
This is a story about life. A message for us all. The cold reality that life does end and the living must go on living.
He had no idea how long he had blanked out for, but when he was able to
think again, he glanced at the clock. Twentyminutes had passed, and he had no
memory of it. He shook his head. “Be strong!” he ordered himself aloud. “You
have to be strong for her.”
Standing, he wiped the wetness from his face and went to the dining room
table. Leaning over the table, he moved the mouse and a few seconds later, the
screen came alive. He sat, opened the first file, and went to work.
Three hours later, exactly as he knew it would happen, Claire woke with
a groan. He flew out of the chair, and raced to the bedroom. Kneeling beside
Claire, he handed her another pill. When she took it, and drank half the water,
he went around to the other side of the bed, slipped onto it, and drew her into
“Go back to sleep, my baby.” Holding her close, he stroked her back as another
set of chills battered her. He knew she would fall asleep within five minutes.
She always did.With the additional meds, she would sleep for at least four
more hours before the pain hit again, and if everything went as it should, the
chills would be over until her next treatment.
He held her close while she fell asleep, but instead of returning to work, he
closed his eyes. Just for a moment, he told himself.
He woke when she did; the clock read four forty-five. He bit back a curse,
shifted, and turned on a bed lamp. Her eyes reflected her pain. He started to
rise, but she stopped him. “I don’t need anything. Just you. Hold me.”
He slid his arm under her neck and pulled her against his side. Her arm
went across his chest, her hand cupped over his ribs. “I don’t want all those pain
killers, not until I can’t handle it any longer. Please, I don’t want to spend what
time I—that remains drugged out. I’ll smoke the grass after the treatments, I
promise. But no more pills until I can’t manage it.”
His only answer was to hold her tighter.
David Wind has published thirty-nine novels, including science fiction & Fantasy, mystery, thriller, noir, and suspense novels. He lives and writes in Boynton Beach, Florida, and shares his home with his wife, Bonnie, and dog Alfie, a sub-standard poodle (email David for an explanation).
His newest novel is A Better Place To Be based on the Harry Chapin song of the same name. Not his usual genre, this is a story of love, loss and facing to the worst life can throw at you and still be standing.
Born To Magic, the first book of his sci-fi fantasy series, Tales Of Nevaeh, was released in 2015. All three books have reached into the Amazon Top 100 best seller rankings in several categories including Young Adult. Both the second book of the series, The Dark Masters , and the third Book, TRINITY: The Battle For Nevaeh, have all received high praise.
David's fantasy, Queen Of Knights, was a #2 best seller on the Amazon bestseller lists for historical fantasy and medieval fantasy, and his sci-fi paranormal, Infinity’s Doorway, has received wide acclaim.
When David formally left traditional publishing to become an independently published writer, he published Angels In Mourning, his ‘homage’ to the old time private detective books of the 50’s and the 60’s. Angels is a modern day take on the old style hard-boiled detective. In April of that year, Angels In Mourning, won the Amazon.com Book of the Month Reader’s Choice Award.
His previous suspense thrillers are The Hyte Maneuverv, (a Literary guild alternate selection); The Sokova Convention ,, and The Morrissey Manifest ,. David's Mystery suspense novels include: And Down Will Come Baby, Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep, and Out of The Shadows.
First of all, know that I am a writer, not a regular blogger. Just like any other person in any profession, writers come in different sizes, shapes, and genres. There are bloggers, journalists, biographers, how-to-writers, Indie writers, Traditional writers, non-fiction authors, and novelists, and even within the writer categories, there are untold sub-categories. Novelists write in hundreds of genres; non-fiction writers also have hundreds of genres to choose from… I could go on and on, but let’s stop here for now.
There is one thing that I believe crosses every category, every genre, and every writer: ‘The Question’.
What is ‘the question’? Well, obviously, it must be the most burning issue ever, if it effects all writers, right? Well, maybe. Here are two versions of the question: Where do you get your ideas from? / Where did you get your idea for this book from?
While there is usually a generic answer most of us use—unless there was an earth shattering and mind blowing epiphany—that goes something like…”I watch people and as I observe them going about their lives, questions rise in my mind and soon I find myself creating a story around that particular situation.”
I believe what I’ve just told you is absolutely true, for the most part. But it’s just outside of ‘themostpart’, where the real answers lay. Just the mention of my new novel brings the question out immediately. “Why write a novel based on a song, and, really, who does that?”
So, before you have a chance to ask me that question, let me answer it. I first heard Harry Chapin in the early seventies—’72/’73— on the radio, and I became a fan. I never missed a Harry Chapin performance at Alice Tully Hall, and listening and watching him perform, was like having a friend playing guitar and singing in my living room. I think if you ask any fan, you’ll get a similar response. “Harry wasn’t just a singer, he was a friend. Somehow, Harry Chapin crossed an invisible barrier and achieved what few do. And for me, the aspiring writer, he spoke to me as a storyteller even more than a singer.
Let’s fast forward to one of his concerts, where he performed ‘A Better Place To Be’. The first time I heard that song was my epiphany, so to speak. The song created a question in my mind: Who was the man he was singing about? What had happened to him, to create the situation the song detailed? Oh, yeah, I’ve been carrying the germ of an idea around in my head for far too many years. In the time between then and now, I’ve had three children and written and published thirty-nine novels. A Better Place To Be, released December 1, of this year will be my fortieth—it is also the first novel of this type I’ve written. What pushed you to finally write A Better Place To Be, comes the question again.
I have no choice but to answer in the arena of brutal honesty. The death of my son, Zach, this past January, pushed me to write the book. There is nothing like the loss of a child to make one examine one’s own life. And this was no exception.
Perhaps it was coincidental, but a few months earlier, I had begun to once again think about the song. And then, perhaps coincidentally, perhaps not, shortly after Zach’s passing, I heard the song on the radio as I was driving. By the time A Better Place To Be, finished on Classic Vinyl, I couldn’t help but think of my son, and I realized that my life was moving forward even if I wasn’t, and even if I didn’t want it to.
How much time did I have left to get to those things I wanted to accomplish? That’s an unanswerable question, because no one knows the future. So, a week or so later, I sat down and started A Better Place To Be.
I wasn’t sure about what I was doing, or how to go about creating the backstory to a song. As far as I knew, writing a book based on a song, had only been done for children’s books. Even the great David Bowie once tried to create a play based on his song, The Man Who Fell To Earth, and it did not reach fruition. If he couldn’t, what made me think I could do something similar?
What I did was to ignore everything and just write. While I feared this would turn into a project about my son, that fear never materialized because Harry Chapin didn’t right about my son; instead, it grew into a story about a man who lost everything and who had to learn how to not only survive, but find A Better Place To Be.
The final four chapters of the book, is the song. The twenty-six chapters preceding the final four, make up the backstory.
Because I believe Harry Chapin was a special person, and one who far exceeded the title of ‘entertainer’, I have decided to donate a portion of my royalties to WhyHunger,the organization Harry created to end world hunger.