Why would a poetry-writing high-school emo girl from suburban Chicago volunteer for the Iraq War? And when both of her legs are blown off in a non-combat IED explosion, how will she ever recover? The Chicago Center for Literature and Photography is proud to present its newest original novella, Too Young to Fall Asleep, the literary debut of talented local up-and-comer Sally Weigel. Originally written when she was still in high school, Asleep is one of the first-ever adult character dramas concerning the so-called "Millennials," a prescient and eerily mature look at the generation of youth just now entering college -- an entire nation of idealistic sincerity-seekers within a maelstrom of suicidal Gen-X parents, a nation of kids who have no problem getting wasted on weekends but feel horribly guilty when smoking cigarettes while doing so. Weigel takes a razor-sharp look at this generation here, through the filter of the two events that have so far most influenced them -- the rise of the dark post-9/11 supergroup Radiohead, and the decimating of their numbers by Bush's 'war on terrorism' -- delivering at the end a haunting and thought-provoking snapshot of our current zeitgeist, in a sophisticated way that can only be done by an actual member of that generation. A "pay what you want" experiment which can be downloaded for free if one chooses, Too Young to Fall Asleep marks the daring debut of an important rising voice in the American arts, and you are sure to be both informed and moved by what she has to say.
"[W]e loved it, read it straight through in one sitting. Ms. Weigel's prose is excellent, really bringing the reader into the situation and the mood. Reading this little book is almost like being temporarily lost in a Radiohead song. And yes, to think Ms. Wiegel was only in high school when she wrote this. Dang." --Curbside Splendor
"[A] dense character study and a great first book from such a young author." --The Teenage Head
"Too Young to Fall Asleep takes something we all think we know, high school, and intersects it with something we don't yet understand, the impact of the Iraq War. What's unique of course, is that it seeks to accomplish all this, just as movies like In the Valley of Elah, Stop Loss and now The Hurt Locker have tried to do as well, by capturing the essence of living during a time of war while the war being explored is actually happening, no time to look back, no time to reflect. It's a big and awesome task, and Sally has jumped-in feet first, planting her stake in the still shifting ground, and establishing a precedent for all of the Iraq War literature that is sure to follow." --Author Ben Tanzer
The electronic version of this book is being offered for free download to increase readership, although you're encouraged to make a voluntary payment through Paypal. To start the process, choose one of the options below:
Make a voluntary payment then download the ebook
Kindle owner? Click here to buy the ebook at Amazon.
Want a paper copy of Too Young to Fall Asleep? Then order it in its "Hypermodern Edition," a series of special high-quality, handmade books designed for collectors but reasonably priced. It can be ordered with either recycled or cotton paper, and can be delivered through cheaper First Class Mail or faster Priority Mail. Use the drop-down menu below to choose the option most suited for you:
In April 2010, Sally Weigel embarked on a "virtual book tour" to promote Too Young to Fall Asleep, appearing at a total of ten other websites for such things as interviews, MP3 readings, an exclusive new playlist of music that matches the book, and more. Click on any of the links below to see that site's official tour stop:
Supplemental and promotional material:
An interview with Weigel regarding the process of writing this book
A critical essay by the publisher, on why he signed the book in the first place
A critical essay by Ben Tanzer, CCLaP's last published author, on what he likes about Weigel's work
A page of comments about the book from CCLaP's readers and outside critics, as well as a link to Asleep's listing at Goodreads.com
This book has been released under a Creative Commons license (click the above icon to actually read it in full); this gives you permission to make unlimited copies for yourself, convert it into other formats, translate it into other languages, and use it as a basis for nonprofit multimedia projects (audio, film, animation, stage performance, calligraphy, etc), in return for you not changing the contents or removing the credits.
Cover images: Top, "U.S. Army Soldiers from the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team engage anti-Iraqi forces in Buhriz, Iraq, March 14, 2007," by the US Army Soldiers Media Center. Bottom, "Chicago Skyline at Radiohead (August 2008)," by Eyton Zelazo. Both are used under the terms of their respective owners' Creative Commons licenses.
CCLaP is always on the lookout for great unsigned manuscripts. Click here for more on how to submit your own.