Superb and inspiring writing, insightful story

  • Book: Coffee Killed My Mother
  • Location: Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Virginia
  • Author: Donna Koros Stramella

Review Author: author@tonimorganbooks



At seventeen, who didn’t think their mother was frustrating, embarrassing, and maybe even a little bit crazy? Welcome to Anna Lee’s world where she is forced to go on a road trip with her addled mother, Jacqueline, ostensibly in search of the perfect cup of coffee, but in reality, much more.
Apparently, there was no GPS in Mom’s battered red jeep, and I laughed out loud when the first day out they ended up in the wrong state. From the very beginning, Anna Lee did what every teenager is so good at—passive resistance. She uses that skill at every opportunity. But as time goes on, as family secrets are revealed, Anna Lee sees beyond her mom’s blond cornrows, her ill-fitting and outdated clothes, to the pain that underscores Jacqueline’s determined good cheer.
Written in Anna Lee’s seventeen-year-old voice, Stramella’s writing is superb, her characters fully developed and relatable, her settings of small-town eastern seaboard America realistic. Easily one of the best novels I’ve read this year, I look forward to reading more of Donna Stramella’s work.

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Enter the 2021TripFiction 'Sense of Place' Creative Writing Competition! Entries close 6th November

A story in which the location plays as important a role as the rest of your words.

2,500 word maximum, 750 word minimum

Judges include Victoria Hislop and Rosanna Ley

First Prize of £1,000 / US$1,350

Prizes total £1,750 / US$2,362 

Winning entry published on TripFiction site and publicised on Social Media