Thursday, November 9, 2017

Book Beginning: Bitter is the Wind by Jim McDermott




During his first suspension from Netherwood Junior High School in rural upstate New York for throwing ice cubes down a girl's shirt, George Johnson Jr. passed the time at home by himself.

Bitter is the Wind by Jim McDermott. That is just the kind of opening sentence I like, one that introduces the book and lets me know that there is going to be an actual story here, not just pretty writing. We already know the setting and the main character, and that "Jr." in his name tells us his dad is involved, somehow.

And, sure enough, this debut novel is a father/son story that follows the family from blue collar upstate New York in the 1970s to Wall Street in the 1980s, and feels perfect for right now. It's getting good reviews, like this one in the San Francisco Book Review that described it as "a fascinating character study and slice of life novel."

Please join me every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author’s name.

EARLY BIRDS & SLOWPOKES: This weekly post goes up Thursday evening for those who like to get their posts up and linked early on. But feel free to add a link all week.

FACEBOOK: Rose City Reader has a Facebook page where I post about new and favorite books, book events, and other bookish tidbits, as well as link to blog posts. I'd love a "Like" on the page! You can go to the page here to Like it. I am happy to Like you back if you have a blog or professional Facebook page, so please leave a comment with a link and I will find you.

TWITTER, ETC: If you are on Twitter, Instagram, Google+, or other social media, please post using the hash tag #BookBeginnings. I try to follow all Book  Beginnings participants on whatever interweb sites you are on, so please let me know if I have missed any and I will catch up.

TIE IN: The Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice is a natural tie in with this event and there is a lot of cross over, so many people combine the two. The idea is to post a teaser from page 56 of the book you are reading and share a link to your post. Find details and the Linky for your Friday 56 post on Freda’s Voice.



  1. The beginning does sound like the author is getting right down to telling the story.

    The novel I'm reading is also by a debut author.

  2. I like the start--sounds like the story has lots of potential.

  3. I also believe that a good start is an indication of a good book, and I like it when I can see that thought has gone into it. Happy reading.

  4. Hi Gilion,

    This probably isn't one for my list, however for a debut novel it does sound as though Jim has written with great thought and depth, about a subject which is very probably close to his heart.

    The reviews and ratings so far have been amazing and I do hope that you will feel able to add your own praise, when you are done reading!

    Thanks for hosting and sharing :)


  5. Your first sentence today brings back memories. I knew a boy who used to try to do that to me and his sister. He didn't like that I fought back. :-) I imagine the boy in your book turns out much different than the boy I knew growing up--and had a much different life. Bitter is the Wind sounds like a good one. I hope you enjoy it!

  6. I wonder did the girl cry. Ice can make the skin crawl.

  7. Oh man, he's just having a little fun.
    sherry @ fundinmental Friday Memes

  8. I love the title "Bitter is the Wind" so much. It does sound like a great novel to read right now. Enjoy!


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