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Sunshine State: Essays
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HarperAudio 2017
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Description

Rising literary star and Los Angeles Times First Fiction Award finalist Sarah Gerard uses her experiences growing up along Florida's gulf coast to illuminate the struggles of modern human survival—physical, emotional, environmental—through a collection of essays exploring intimacy, addiction, obsession, religion, homelessness, and incarceration.

With the personal insight of The Empathy Exams, the societal exposal of Nickel and Dimed, and the stylistic innovation and intensity of her own break-out debut novel Binary Star, Sarah Gerard's Sunshine State uses the intimately personal to unearth the deep reservoirs of humanity buried in the corners of our world often hardest to face.

In the collection's title essay, Gerard volunteers at the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary, a world renowned bird refuge. There she meets its founder, who once modeled with a pelican on his arm for a Dewar's Scotch campaign but has since declined into a pit of fraud and madness. He becomes our embezzling protagonist whose tales about the birds he "rescues" never quite add up. Gerard's personal stories are no less eerie or poignant: An essay that begins as a look at Gerard's first relationship becomes a heart-wrenching exploration of acquaintance rape and consent. An account of intimate female friendship pivots midway through, morphing into a meditation on jealousy and class.

Sunshine State offers a unique look at Florida, a state whose economically and environmentally imperiled culture serves as a lens through which we can examine some of the most pressing issues haunting our nation.

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Format:
OverDrive MP3 Audiobook, OverDrive Listen
Edition:
Unabridged
Street Date:
04/11/2017
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780062681416
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Sarah Gerard. (2017). Sunshine State: Essays. Unabridged HarperAudio.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Sarah Gerard. 2017. Sunshine State: Essays. HarperAudio.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Sarah Gerard, Sunshine State: Essays. HarperAudio, 2017.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Sarah Gerard. Sunshine State: Essays. Unabridged HarperAudio, 2017.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Date Updated:
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        Sarah Gerard is the author of the essay collection Sunshine State, which was longlisted for the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay, and the novel Binary Star, which was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction. Her short stories, essays, interviews, and criticism have appeared in the New York Times, T Magazine, Granta, The Baffler, Vice, and the anthologies Tampa Noir, We Can't Help it if We're From Florida, and One Small Blow Against Encroaching Totalitarianism. She lives in New York City with her true love, the writer Patty Yumi Cottrell. Find her at Sarah-Gerard.com.

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title
Sunshine State
fullDescription

Rising literary star and Los Angeles Times First Fiction Award finalist Sarah Gerard uses her experiences growing up along Florida's gulf coast to illuminate the struggles of modern human survival—physical, emotional, environmental—through a collection of essays exploring intimacy, addiction, obsession, religion, homelessness, and incarceration.

With the personal insight of The Empathy Exams, the societal exposal of Nickel and Dimed, and the stylistic innovation and intensity of her own break-out debut novel Binary Star, Sarah Gerard's Sunshine State uses the intimately personal to unearth the deep reservoirs of humanity buried in the corners of our world often hardest to face.

In the collection's title essay, Gerard volunteers at the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary, a world renowned bird refuge. There she meets its founder, who once modeled with a pelican on his arm for a Dewar's Scotch campaign but has since declined into a pit of fraud and madness. He becomes our embezzling protagonist whose tales about the birds he "rescues" never quite add up. Gerard's personal stories are no less eerie or poignant: An essay that begins as a look at Gerard's first relationship becomes a heart-wrenching exploration of acquaintance rape and consent. An account of intimate female friendship pivots midway through, morphing into a meditation on jealousy and class.

Sunshine State offers a unique look at Florida, a state whose economically and environmentally imperiled culture serves as a lens through which we can examine some of the most pressing issues haunting our nation.

reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: AudioFile Magazine
      • content: The author of the breakout novel BINARY STAR believes she's more of a memoirist than a journalist. Sure enough, she herself is the unifying principle in this series of wide-ranging essays. Narrator Madeleine Maby has the rare gift of a light, strong voice, soft at the edges but very clear as she delivers topics that document the author's evolving point of view from that of a child interested in religion to that of an adult interrogator of the way some people live. Several stops in a nihilistic adolescence are also included. Gerard's talent for writing description inspires visceral reactions. Maby inhabits the very personal space Gerard creates in her essays. Her pacing is unhurried but always consistent. Author and narrator are a powerful combination. F.C. � AudioFile 2017, Portland, Maine
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        Starred review from November 28, 2016
        Brave, keenly observational, and humanitarian, Gerard’s (Binary Star) collection of essays illuminates the stark realities of Florida’s Gulf Coast. With a mixture of investigative journalism and firsthand experience, she brings to life outspoken zealots, hopeless romantics, and escapist youth. She describes the hunger of Christian Scientists for earthly and spiritual wellness, Amway members for self-determined success, adolescents for reckless euphoria, testosterone-flooded males for dominance, and the underprivileged for nothing more than adequate housing and shelter. Gerard is a virtuoso of language, which in her hands is precise, unlabored, and quietly wrought with emotion. As evinced by the extensive bibliography and endnotes, she is also a very diligent journalist. To some, her thorough analyses of flawed legislation, business, religion, and literary journalism may feel long-winded at times, but readers interested in those topics will be fascinated. The chapters that will reach any reader are her deeply sad yet valiant personal essays on youth and death. Gerard’s collection leaves an indelible impression. Fans of literary nonfiction and dark reverie will welcome it.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        March 15, 2017

        Writer Gerard (Binary Star) was born and raised in the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metropolitan area, and as a teenager experimented in all the sex, drugs, techno, and nu metal music available in the mid-to-late 1980s and 1990s. These essays offer recollections of her escapades and renderings on homelessness and bird sanctuaries. "Mother-Father God" details her parents' involvement in the Unity Church and her mother's work with local police; "Going Diamond" describes her father's career with Amway and the company's philosophy to dream big, which Gerard acted upon during a recent visit to tour million dollar homes; "The Mayor of Williams Park" tells of the author's acquaintance with a person named G.W., who serves Saturday morning breakfast to the homeless in St. Petersburg. The titular "Sunshine State" outlines her volunteer work at the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary and details efforts to save injured seabirds. While geographically focused on the west-central coast of Florida, Gerard's essays are not characteristic of the often-published writings on Florida as a touristy hiding place for misfits. The author genuinely writes for herself as much as for the discovery of the reader. VERDICT Writers and regional Florida readers will value this collection.--Joyce Sparrow, Kenneth City, FL

        Copyright 2017 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        February 15, 2017
        Decidedly odd characters emerge in eight autobiographical essays.Combining journalism and memoir, Gerard (Binary Star, 2015, etc.), a novelist, essayist, and columnist for the online journal Hazlitt, brings a sharp eye to recollections of growing up on Florida's Gulf Coast. Notable for sharply drawn portraits, her essays depict a host of unusual, eccentric men and women. In "Mother-Father God," the author introduces the earnest spiritual leader of the Unity-Clearwater congregation, a New Thought church, where, for more than a decade, her parents were devoted members. Church activities were omnipresent in her life, leading her to wonder, as an adult, why her parents joined, why they left, and how that early connection to the church shaped her. Gerard juxtaposes her parents' biographies with a history of the New Thought movement, particularly Mary Baker Eddy's Christian Science, that arose in late-19th-century America. Like those early followers, the author's parents found in Unity-Clearwater "positive, reaffirming messages," especially the message that "people are not punished for their sins but punished by their sins." Gerard admits that she has been drawn to the church's teaching that individuals create potential in the world by first believing in it. Maybe this ongoing belief in potential attracted her parents to become distributors for Amway, a sketchy marketing corporation accused of being a pyramid scheme. Their involvement, no less enthusiastic than in the church, is the subject of the partly fictionalized essay "Going Diamond," featuring a portrait of Amway's co-founder Richard DeVos, whose son is the husband of the current nominee for Secretary of Education. Another essay details, somewhat repetitively, the author's high school years, marked by drugs, alcohol, sex, and, surprisingly, classical singing lessons. The title essay, although it also would have benefited from further editing, vividly portrays the bizarre director of the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary, where Gerard visited as a child and returned as a volunteer to conduct research. "The Mayor of Williams Park" offers an engaging profile of an unlikely activist working to ameliorate homelessness. An intimate journey reveals a Florida few visitors would ever discover.

        COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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Rising literary star and Los Angeles Times First Fiction Award finalist Sarah Gerard uses her experiences growing up along Florida's gulf coast to illuminate the struggles of modern human survival—physical, emotional, environmental—through a collection of essays exploring intimacy, addiction, obsession, religion, homelessness, and incarceration.

With the personal insight of The Empathy Exams, the societal exposal of Nickel and Dimed, and the stylistic innovation and intensity of her own break-out debut novel Binary Star, Sarah Gerard's Sunshine State uses the intimately personal to unearth the deep reservoirs of humanity buried in the corners of our world often hardest to face.

In the collection's title essay, Gerard volunteers at the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary, a world renowned bird refuge. There she meets its founder, who once modeled with a pelican on his arm for a Dewar's Scotch campaign but has since declined into a pit of fraud and madness. He...

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