Neustadt JAAMM Festival (Jewish Arts, Authors, Movies and Music)

R.L. Maizes - "Other People's Pets: A Novel"

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Stream begins December 18, 2020 2:00 AM UTC
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Join JAAMM as we welcome local fiction author R.L. Maizes for an interview-style conversation about her debut novel "Other People's Pets."


Special thanks to the Jewish Book Council for their assistance in routing recently-published Jewish-interest authors to our community. We encourage you to purchase this title through our 2020-2021 Bookstore Partner, The Bookies, to receive a signed bookplate from the author!


About "Other People's Pets":

La La Fine relates to animals better than she does to other people. Abandoned by a mother who never wanted a family, raised by a locksmith-turned-thief father, La La looks to pets when it feels like the rest of the world conspires against her.


La La’s world stops being whole when her mother, who never wanted a child, abandons her twice. First, when La La falls through thin ice on a skating trip, and again when the accusations of “unfit mother” feel too close to true. Left alone with her father—a locksmith by trade, and a thief in reality—La La is denied a regular life. She becomes her father’s accomplice, calming the watchdog while he strips families of their most precious belongings.


When her father’s luck runs out and he is arrested for burglary, everything La La has painstakingly built unravels. In her fourth year of veterinary school, she is forced to drop out, leaving school to pay for her father’s legal fees the only way she knows how—robbing homes once again.


As an animal empath, she rationalizes her theft by focusing on houses with pets whose maladies only she can sense and caring for them before leaving with the family’s valuables. The news reports a puzzled police force—searching for a thief who left medicine for the dog, water for the parrot, or food for the hamster behind.


Desperate to compensate for new and old losses, La La continues to rob homes, but it’s a strategy that ultimately will fail her.


Other People’s Pets examines the gap between the families we’re born into and those we create, and the danger that holding on to a troubled past may rob us of the future.


About R.L. Maizes:


R.L. Maizes is the author of the novel OTHER PEOPLE’S PETS (Celadon Books, Macmillan) and the short story collection WE LOVE ANDERSON COOPER (Celadon Books). Her stories have aired on National Public Radio and have appeared in Electric Literature’s Recommended Reading. Her essays have been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and have aired on NPR.


Maizes was born and raised in Queens, New York, and lives in Boulder County, CO, with her husband, Steve, and her muses: Arie, a cat who was dropped in the animal shelter’s night box like an overdue library book, and Rosie, a dog who spent her first year homeless in South Dakota and thinks Colorado is downright balmy.