Cures for Heartbreak is Margo Rabb's debut novel, and it's the kind of book that makes you feel she'll be around for a while. This New York writer tells us the story of a very New York girl who searches for love while coping with the death of her mom, the weirdness of her dad's new girlfriend, and a family history shadowed by the Holocaust. We think it's a beautiful read....so we asked Margo to take our pop quiz, and here's what she said:
Who is your favorite writer that most people have never heard of?
Zibby O’Neal, who wrote In Summer Light. I first read it when I was seventeen, and afterward I wrote in my diary: “It’s one of the few books I’ve read about someone who’s my age which gives a teenager any bit of credit for the ability to think, to be mature—to not be an idiot.”
Laurie Colwin, the author of short stories, novels, and essays on cooking—Happy All the Time, Passion and Affect, and Home Cooking are a few of my favorites.
Betty Fussell, who wrote My Cooking Wars (I love food writers.) It’s not only about food, but about being a wife and mother in the 1950s, and reading it made me incredibly grateful to be a woman in this era.
What kid or teen books rocked your world growing up?
Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. My best friend and I call ourselves Anne-heads, and a few summers ago we made a pilgrimage to Prince Edward Island, where the books are set. Anne is like a religious figure there. Her image adorns everything from license plates to clothing, candy, soap and dinnerware; even her favorite drink, Raspberry Cordial, is sold at local convenience stores. We even went to a faux Anne village, and met a boy dressed up as Gilbert Blythe, Anne’s true love. Life doesn’t get much better than that.
Describe your ideal place to write.
A quiet room with no phone, no email, and hopefully a view of the trees (not a thing you take for granted in New York City, where I grew up and still live.) A nice warm cat on the lap would be a plus, too. In fact, I think writer’s retreats should let you borrow a cat to keep your lap warm while you’re typing.
Your life is a TV series. Name the theme song, one event that would be on the "best of" episode, and one that would be on the blooper reel.
The theme song at the moment would have to be “Who Needs Sleep?” since I gave birth to a baby girl three months ago. The song is by Bare Naked Ladies, though I haven’t listened to them in ten years.
For the “best of” episode, I’m going to go with the time I was writing my novel in an old fishing shanty in Nantucket in October (the idea of writing in a shanty in Nantucket had sounded very romantic, but in reality it was cold and lonely), and my boyfriend (who is now my husband) surprised me by knocking on my door. He’d flown all the way from New York City just to visit me for one night. I felt like a character in a romance novel.
The blooper reel: A long, long time ago I went on a date with a guy who told me, “Why should I read a book when I can just see the movie?” Indeed.
Burger-flippers want to know: have you ever had a job that required you to wear a geeky uniform? Details, please!
When I was a freshman in college I looked for a work-study job late and the only one I could find was on the grounds crew. I’m five-foot-one and less than 100 pounds—not exactly muscle-clad maintenance-woman material. I wore overalls—yuck—and shoveled gravel on the college walkways. The guys on the crew let me off pretty easy though—eventually I became more of a mascot.
We'd like to name a burger in your honor. What kind of fixins should
I’m going to go high-end here: there’s a burger made at one of the fancy restaurants in NYC that has both foie gras and black truffles and costs $69. I’d like that to be my burger, because it sure beats White Castle.