Quotes from Early Readers:
"It sparkles. The people are so HUMAN."
"I didn't expect the ending. Or the middle. Or anything along the way. Pretty much everything that happened was surprising, but it all made wonderful, crazy sense."
"I think I grew up in this town."
"Everyone's trying to figure out how to get along while things disappear before their eyes. Some adapt with humor. Some adapt with violence. And some just don't adapt at all."
About the Book:
Jack Dixon's mixed-up childhood has left him with pieces to a puzzle he can’t yet solve.
After working for years in his grandfather’s Main Street dress shop, successful despite Walmart, Jack loses the business to his uncle Frank, leaving him nowhere to turn but the local Food Lion, where he tries to find the same satisfaction in supplying the town with apples, onions, and Swiss chard that he did in supplying its upper-class women with church clothes.
At Food Lion, he also finds Ashleigh, divorced mother of two and insecure master of self-checkout lines. The two begin a tentative relationship, bordered by the matronly tyranny they both endure and the First Methodist Christmas pageant, which Ashleigh’s mother directs every year in a style that pleases herself, displeases Jack’s grandmother, and terrorizes the children who participate.
Told in alternating time lines, the present-day pageant debacles are given depth and meaning by tenacious pasts that show how even the most mundane lives shelter secret joys and fears. From Amelia—an elderly disabled woman who stages a nursery tea party as a cover for stealing a pageant costume—to Jack’s grandfather’s hectic passing and an artist-beekeeper’s nighttime exploits, As Birds Fly Upward is a study of the human condition, of the intricacies in the lives of every person and mix in every town, and of the puzzles we all try to complete, one odd piece at a time.