Hartford, CT, May 10, 2022 —What would happen if a suburban woman with a hard-as-nails façade and a detailed life plan was suddenly saddled with caring for a 6-year-old girl from the Bronx?
Such is the dilemma facing Dolores Farrell in Almost Like Praying, the intriguing new novel from author Joel Samberg. But the 6-year-old girl is just the tip of Dolores’ family-centered iceberg. When readers first meet her, she is a woman with a future all planned out: She’ll marry an attorney, have sons who will become attorneys, daughters who will become patrons of the arts, and live in the shadow of Harvard University, thereby continuing her privileged, purebred Irish-Catholic legacy.
Instead, Dolores must watch as each of her children adopts a lifestyle quite different from what she had envisioned. One daughter becomes a waitress, another a shock jock. One son becomes a cop (a troubled one at that), another a cartoonist. Much to his mother’s dismay, the cartoonist is also missing a leg due to a terrible childhood accident. That, of course, had not been part of Dolores’ original plan.
Almost Like Praying, which fictionalizes some real thoughts and memories, is told through a trilogy of stories reconstructed by a curious journalist who, as a boy, lived across the street from the family at the heart of the book. One day from his old bedroom window, the journalist sees Dolores on her front step hugging a dark-skinned little girl named Maria, and smiling—something he feels the grim-faced Dolores would never do. That’s what prompts him to research and write the stories.
“The novel sprung from my own roots,” Samberg said. “Growing up on Long Island, one of my best friends had a mother who to me seemed humorless and severe. I had always wondered about her. She became Dolores. Also, whenever my family drove through the Bronx, I’d look at the ramshackle apartment buildings and wonder how the kids who lived there would fare in my own middle-class neighborhood. One of them became Maria.”
Featuring flawed, relatable characters, Almost Like Praying offers a compelling message that likely will resonate with readers everywhere.
Author Joel Sambergdecided to become a writer as a boy. He wrote a screenplay when he was 12 and sent it to MGM, and although the studio turned it down, an executive’s encouraging note suggested that he never give up on his dream to be a writer. Two years later, his English teacher sent a nasty note home to his parents falsely accusing him of plagiarizing a book report because she said it was too well-written for an eighth-grader. That settled it: from that point on, he has never given up.
Samberg has written for dozens of magazines and has published seven fiction and nonfiction books, including Some Kind of Lonely Clown: The Music, Memory, and Melancholy Lives of Karen Carpenter.
For more information, please visit https://almost-like-praying-new-novel.blogspot.com/, and follow the author on Twitter at @JoelSamberg.
Almost Like Praying
Publisher: Black Rose Writing (http://blackrosewriting.com)
Release Date: April 28, 2022
Available from Amazon.com, Black Rose Writing and other online booksellers.