Part Armistead Maupin set in South Florida, part Poor Richard’s Almanac for the 21st Century, The Sunshine Chronicles is an inventive compilation of Facebook posts by local writer and professor, Jan Becker.
Shockingly delightful, and unflinching in their candor, the posts reveal an intimate portrait of a quirky writer and her South Florida surroundings. Readers will simultaneously LOL and find themselves deeply moved as Becker navigates domestic life with The Chef and Feline amidst a zany cast of neighbors and characters. From Creepy Maintenance Men with tawdry agendas, and annual invasions from snowbirds like The Winemaker and Grandma, to struggling through the summer with no AC in the car, The Sunshine Chronicles is a unique glimpse of both a small slice of Florida, and one woman’s outlook on the world-at-large. You will “like” this book.
Jan Becker is from a small coal mining town in Pennsylvania. She didn’t stay there very long. She grew up in a Marine Corps family, on military bases all over the United States, and wandered the US for many years before settling in South Florida. She is currently an MFA candidate at Florida International University, and has taught courses there in composition, technical writing, creative writing and poetry. She is on the regular faculty at Reading Queer Academy, where she teaches a Boot Camp for Queer Writers and serves as a mentor. Her work has appeared in Jai-Alai Magazine, Colorado Review, Emerge, Brevity Poetry Review, Sliver of Stone, and the Florida Book Review. She is the 2015-2016 Writer in Residence at the Girls’ Club Collection in Fort Lauderdale, and winner of the 2015 AWP Intro Journals Award in Nonfiction. Her first book, The Sunshine Chronicles was published by Jitney Books in 2016.
Praise for The Sunshine Chronicles
“Jan Becker isn’t a hidden gem. She’s a gem formed out of her own will. Crystalline and wondrous like salt on a carnival pretzel.” Neil de la Flor, author of Almost Dorothy and founder of Reading Queer
“Jan Becker is brilliant in every way the word can mean. Her prose is glittering and golden, rollicking and wise. If The Sunshine Chronicles were a suitcase on the baggage carousel, it would be the one grip you couldn’t miss, the stand-out in every crowd. Clasp that expertly crafted handle. Appraise that bold, thematic stitching of polka-dot and plaid. Then, notice the tag that reads, I dare you—just try and put me down.” Julie Marie Wade, Winner of the American Literary Review Nonfiction Prize
“When you meet Jan Becker, with her knee-high combat boots, her Viking helmet or crochet hat, the ordinary becomes exceptional, and the ugliness of this world—ripe with detailed imagery in Jan Becker’s prose—is never without hope, sensitivity, humor, and truth. Jan (not just her writing!) is magic: she illuminates everything she touches, even as she explores areas that others might find uncomfortable, and challenges the darkness that both surrounds us and lives inside of us. On the Internet, she’s opened the door to a riveting nonfiction universe, and her many real-life characters have become habitual elements of my own online world: The Feline, The Chef, The Creepy Maintenance Man… I feel I know them all! In conversation with Jan Becker, the mind churns: The mind grows still: Willingly subjugated (“janbeckered”), we attempt to understand not just who we are, as humans, but also the many difficult questions in this world we inhabit, with all its contradictions and ironies. Jan is thus a modern philosopher whose prose gently (and irresistibly) leads the reader to think deeper, to love harder, to question the different levels of truth, to look into the dark and find the light. Jan writes in a language that is carefully crafted—playful and warm, and relatable. Her form is experimental, pushing the boundaries of traditional literature, yet it is comfortingly familiar and accessible, just like the people and places she writes about. Jan’s words get inside you, compel you to think, to act, to never stop questioning, and loving, and laughing at the messiness that comes with being human.” Michele Jessica Fievre, author of A Sky the Color of Chaos