Most anyone from the San Gabriel Valley who has shopped in Vroman’s, our saving-grace bookstore, over the years will have felt the influence of the wonderful Linda Urban, its former marketing director. Linda, now decamped to Vermont with her family, organized all the nightly readings, the weekend writing workshops, the more-than-a-retailer atmosphere that continues to infuse the store with fun and learning.
Linda writes about those workshops: “Secretly, I took notes.”
And now she’s published her own first novel, “A Crooked Kind of Perfect,” aimed at the kids’ or YA segment but as I leaf through my copy quite clearly joyfully readable for adults as well.
It’s about a young keyboard-prodigy wannabe who wants a piano but ends up through her father’s oddness with a cheesy Perfectone D-60 organ instead. Zoe still has her dreams, and this is one, about a contest:
“My mom shows me her judging sheet. It is filled with red marks — one for each wrong note.
“And then a phone rings and everybody turns and looks and there in the audience Vladimir Horowitz is pulling a cell phone out of his tuxedo pocket.
” ‘Hello?’ he says. He looks at me.
” ‘It’s for you.’ ”