I can smell it cooking, and I know it doesn’t sound like it has much to do with the book, but that Cherry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake I’m making is not only almost the same colour as the book cover, it’s just as tasty as that lollipop in Chelle’s mouth.
Did I actually say that?
I did, but I did it to make a point.
White Chalk has been described as a novel inline with “White Oleander”, “Lolita” and “Thirteen Reasons Why”. It was not easy to read, it made me think about things in a different way, and it tested my boundaries. (Which are pretty wide, so that’s saying something.)
The story is set in North Dakota, a state I was intimately familiar with in my youth. It feels odd, to say youth, as I sit in a living room that is no longer on a farm, situated in the centre of a city, and it feels like I’ve come a very long way from where I began. Chelle is 14, and oddly enough, that’s the age I first engaged with and made friends with a great many people in the state known now for things like the Bakkin oil fields, Fargo (the movie and the city) and the International Peace Gardens/Music Camp.
Tyler has a way of transporting the reader into the mind and body of her characters. It was both disconcerting, terrifying and beautiful. The issues brought up in the book aren’t easy to deal with. Chelle’s relationship with her teacher is written from her point of view, and its obvious Tyler went to great lengths to get inside the head of a 14 year old girl who believes she is ‘in love’.
I hate to even use air quotes, but I’m not sure how exactly to describe what Chelle feels. It’s complex in the least, and crosses lines that most people are uncomfortable talking about. Chelle gets pleasure out of her relationships too, and its heart-breaking and sad, and wrong in so many ways, but beautifully told.
I’m not assigning this book a rating, as I work for Novel Publicity and Pavarti K Tyler herself. As with most of my clients though, I think this book has an important story to tell. I’ve thought a lot about why I end up working with the people I do, and its often because of some smaller link, or mutual interest in our lives, no matter how far apart we are.
About the Book
Evolved Publishing presents an intimate glance inside teenage angst and confusion, and one talented but troubled girl’s attempt to make sense of life, in the coming-of-age tale, “White Chalk,” by award-winning author Pavarti K. Tyler. [Literary, New Adult, Women's Fiction]
Chelle isn’t a typical 13-year-old girl—she doesn’t laugh with friends, play sports, or hang out at the mall after school. Instead, she navigates a world well beyond her years.
Life in Dawson, ND spins on as she grasps at people, pleading for someone to save her—to return her to the simple childhood of unicorns on her bedroom wall and stories on her father’s knee.
When Troy Christiansen walks into her life, Chelle is desperate to believe his arrival will be her salvation. So much so, she forgets to save herself. After experiencing a tragedy at school, her world begins to crack, causing a deeper scar in her already fragile psyche.
Follow Chelle’s twisted tale of modern adolescence, as she travels down the rabbit hole into a reality none of us wants to admit actually exists.
About the Author
Award winning author of multi-cultural and transgressive literature, Pavarti K Tyler is an artist, wife, mother and number cruncher. She graduated Smith College in 1999 with a degree in Theatre. After graduation, she moved to New York, where she worked as a Dramaturge, Assistant Director and Production Manager on productions both on and off Broadway. Later, Pavarti went to work in the finance industry several international law firms. She now lives with her husband, two daughters and one very large, very terrible dog. She keeps busy working with fabulous authors as the Director of Marketing at Novel Publicity and penning her next genre bending novel.
White Chalk (Evolved Publishing) marks Tyler’s third full length novel and promises readers familiar with her work the same mind bending experience. Her other projects include: Shadow on the Wall (Fighting Monkey Press) and Two Moons of Sera (Fighting Monkey Press). Shadow on the Wall has received many awards: Winner of the General Fiction/Novel Category of the 2012 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, Winner in the Fiction: Multicultural category for The 2012 USA Best Book Awards, and Finalist in the Multicultural Fiction category for the 2012 International Book Awards.
White Chalk has been hailed as “brave”, “raw”, and “destroyingly beautiful”. In line with novels such as White Oleander, Thirteen Reasons Why and Gemma, White Chalk invites you to witness one girl’s heartrending story of confusion and desperation.
You can find out more about Pavarti K Tyler here:
Oh, you’re wondering about that delicious coffee cake, which goes really well with Zaphy organic red wine by the way.
Cherry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake
2 1/4 cups flour
3/4 cups fair trade cane sugar
1/2 tsp each, baking soda, baking powder & salt
1 egg slightly beaten
3/4 cup Lime Greek Yogurt
1 tsp almond extract
Mix the flour & sugar, blend in the butter with a pastry blender until crumbly (reserve 1/2 cup crumb mixture at this point.) Add other dry ingredients. Mix egg, yogurt and almond extract in a 2 cup measuring cup then combine with flour mixture and press into a 9×9 pan or a spring form pan.
1 pkg cream cheese softened and cubed
1/4 cup fair trade cane sugar (from 10,000 Villages here in Brandon!)
You may find you’re okay with only one egg, and rather than blend sugar & cream cheese first, I threw them all in the blender, and let it work its magic for 1 minute.
Top crumb mixture with filling, add 1 cup of cherry pie filling. For the cherry pie filling, I used my own made with fruit picked over the summer with Fruit Share Manitoba here in Brandon. The original recipe calls for 1 21 oz. can, I used a little more than 1/2 a yogurt container (the larger ones). Top the cherries with crumb mixture that was reserved, and add 1/2 cup slivered almonds, and/or 1/4 cup of toffee bits. (Really, you can top this with whatever you like. . . I almost shredded the white chocolate. maybe next time!)