I’m also inspired by the blog name Actin’ Up with Books. As a young girl, books allowed me to vicariously experience what it would be like to “act up” and challenge expectations for how women and girls “should” live their lives and be in the world. As soon as I was old enough, I started having adventures of my own. I’ve done all sorts of things that women aren’t “supposed” to do, like work as a forest firefighter, an apprentice carpenter and a Hollywood screenwriter. (Women make up just 10% of each of those professions!)
I never would have found the courage to take on such challenges if I hadn’t read many books featuring strong female protagonists. And now I’m “actin’ up” by publishing an edgy debut novel about a girl who runs away from home to avoid having to fit into the mold society makes for girls. She travels deep into Mexico on a lush, fantastical journey to find her family’s yardman Jésus. The book is a wild ride perfect for any woman or girl eager to act up with books.
The Earthquake Machine
The book every girl should read,
and every girl’s parents hope she’ll never read.
The Earthquake Machine tells the story of 14 year-old Rhonda. On the outside, everything looks perfect in Rhonda’s world, but at home Rhonda has to deal with a manipulative father who keeps her mentally ill mother hooked on pharmaceuticals. The only reliable person in Rhonda’s life is her family’s Mexican yardman, Jesús. But when the INS deports Jesús back to his home state of Oaxaca, Rhonda is left alone with her increasingly painful family situation.
Determined to find her friend Jésus, Rhonda seizes an opportunity to run away during a camping trip with friends to Big Bend National Park. She swims to the Mexican side of the Rio Grande and makes her way to the border town of Milagros, Mexico. There a peyote- addled bartender convinces her she won’t be safe traveling alone into the country’s interior. So with the bartender’s help, Rhonda cuts her hair and assumes the identity of a Mexican boy named Angel. She then sets off on a burro across the desert to look for Jesús. Thus begins a wild adventure that fulfills the longing of readers eager for a brave and brazen female protagonist.
Mary Pauline Lowry has worked as a forest firefighter, screenwriter, open water lifeguard, construction worker, and advocate in the movement to end violence against women. Due to no fault of her sweet parents, at 15 she ran away from home and made it all the way to Matamoros, Mexico. She believes girls should make art, have adventures, and read books that show them the way.
Visit Mary's website at http://www.marypaulinelowry.com/ or follow her on Twitter @MaryPLowry