In My Shoes by Kelly Engle
Have you ever heard your insides…your heart and soul tell you what you were doing is wrong, but you were pulled along for the ride begrudgingly? Have you ever had a feeling of powerlessness, too weak and scared to stand tall for what was right? Have you ever had the ability to put yourself directly in someone else’s shoes, to see, feel, and somewhat understand just for a moment what a fellow human being was going through? Have you ever been taught a lesson by a persons look, glance or what you thought they might have whispered to you? You might call them tugs, God winks, empathy, or compassion. You might call them a gift.
In this story a young boy Jonah is presented with a situation that will change him forever. He is given several situations as he is traveling to school with a gaggle of “friends”. This chance encounter with a woman who has seen better days will change the both of them forever.
The mystery unfolds as Jonah thinks he catches a glance of this woman’s eyes as he and his friends are harassing her. He isn’t sure if anyone else sees or feels this, but it haunts him. The encounter also haunts the woman they have hurt so deeply. A woman who at first, saw this gaggle of children as sweet innocent children which brought her a moment of joy, until it all turned on a dime.
She begins to feel a sadness for what could have possibly made these children have so much rage, anger, and cruelness in their hearts. It was her connections with Jonah even though so brief that brought her out of her world of darkness and hopelessness and gave he a sense of duty. These encounters helped her to tap into the person she still was deep inside, that she had so sadly lost.
The Book Doctors: This is such a deep and fascinating pitch. This fleeting connection between two unlikely allies amidst this terrible violence is beautiful and moving. And the idea of a group of boys brutalizing an old lady is very resonant in today’s culture. But I think it’s a real mistake to start with all these questions. We’ve heard from so many agents and publishers that they really dislike this form of pitch. I love the last two lines of the first paragraph: “You might call them tugs, God winks, empathy, or compassion. You might call them a gift.” It really demonstrates a gift for writing. I also don’t really understand what happens in this book. Again we have a great setup, but I don’t know how this dynamic is going to play out. What are the actions that define this plot? What actually happens in this book? Is it a Young Adult book? Is it an Adult novel? A memoir? I need to know how these characters change in the course of this story. Readers of what books will love your book?