This past Thursday, I spoke in front of a crowd of about seventy students, faculty, and staff. My website with the book trailer had been pulled up and was on the large white screen behind me. After the trailer was played, I read from parts of the book, explaining along the way how I came up with the story and the characters. Afterwards came the Q and A session. To my great surprise, that session went on for about twenty-five minutes, hands going after each question was answered. It appeared that Robbie Toe's story had struck a chord with the audience. They were appalled that Robbie Toe was incarcerated because of a lie and, beyond that, they were astonished that All the Bad Things was, in part, based on a true story.
When I finally left the stage and went back to the table where my books were, there was a line of folks waiting to purchase a copy. And, of course, I was pleased, but what mostly astonished me were the few young men waiting to tell me that they had known of other men like Robbie Toe who had been imprisoned because of a false accusation.
What I am learning is that those who would classify themselves as nonreaders like the book just as much as those who would classify themselves as the opposite. Is this the nature of a good story? One that appeals to readers and nonreaders alike? I think so. And I hope that All the Bad Things falls into that category.