Hostess Doreen Hamburger with Virginia Laddey and Ann Heiney
On February 15, the Libraries' featured UCI MFA alumna Rhoda Huffey in a talk about her inspirational novel, The Hallelujah Side, at the Libraries' 3rd annual literary luncheon. The event was held at the lovely Corona del Mar home of Doreen Hamburger, who provided a delicious meal for 30 Library Partners and friends.
Published in 1999, The Hallelujah Side is the funny, heartwarming, and "holy" original story of Roxanne Fish, a little girl growing up in 1950s Iowa in a Bible-quoting Pentecostal family who devoutly believe that the second coming of Christ could happen any day. It is the unforgettable story of the conflict between Roxanne's desire to be saved and her yearning to experience the beauty and variety of the world. The conflict comes to a head when she discovers, with the help of Little Richard and a young Aretha Franklin, that she has a gorgeous, fabulous voice.
Huffey talked about the book and read excerpts. She described how the vision of her characters changed while she was writing. "You begin," said Huffey, "thinking you are writing one story, and in the end you have a different story, which surprises you. Somewhere during this process you enter a period of chaos, but, so far, I have come out the other end. I heard a quote recently that said 'In order to create something beautiful, you first have to make a mess.'"
Huffey is the daughter of two Pentecostal preachers, and is a magazine writer and a dancer who teaches and performs tap in various venues. She lives in Venice Beach and holds an MFA from UCI. She has been published in Ploughshares and Tin House and featured at the Beyond Baroque Festival as a performance artist. The Hallelujah Side is her first novel.
Library Partner Doreen Hamburger, who is active in a variety of community organizations, was pleased to host the luncheon for the Libraries. "I enjoy promoting local authors and sharing the important mission of the Libraries with fellow community members," she said.