Seeing Me Naked

Seeing Me Naked

by Liza Palmer

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780446511209
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication date: 01/08/2008
Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 231,692
File size: 445 KB

About the Author

Liza Palmer lives in Pasadena, California with her dog, Poet. She has written two plays that were performed in Los Angeles, and is a graduate of The American Academy of Dramatic Arts-West. She is the author of CONVERSATIONS WITH THE FAT GIRL (5 SPOT, 2005).

Read an Excerpt

Seeing Me Naked

By Liza Palmer


Copyright © 2008 Liza Palmer
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-446-69837-5

Chapter One

The crowd simmers down as the bookstore owner approaches the podium.

"I'm very excited to have such an amazing crowd here tonight for one of L.A.'s prodigal sons. I'm extremely pleased to welcome you to a very special night of literature-a night we hope will be a beacon in these, the darkest of days in publishing. This debut novel is a far cry from the paint-by-numbers, just-add-water types of books that are overtaking our bookshelves and best-seller lists. At just thirty-two years of age, this writer commands the publishing industry to sit up and take notice. Real literature is back with the publication of The Ballad of Rick Danko, by Rascal Page!" I visualize a dazzling shower of pyrotechnics from behind the man as he builds to a climax. A girl in the middle of the bookstore lets out a tiny yelp. Rascal sighs.

I try to push away the insistent drone of my workweek. It keeps bumping up against my consciousness, like a seemingly bottomless hamper of dirty clothes. The perfection of the restaurant is never that far away. Never finished. I can never just sit. But tonight I take a deep breath and try to relax into my brother's big night with happiness and a splash, a hint, really, of my usual knotted stomach.

I give Rascal a sympathetic smile as the obsequious, cloying introduction drones on. We're both waiting for the mention of him. Dad. I peek out into the crowd. Mom is beaming. Her long legs are crossed at the ankles and slanted to one side-nothing out of place. The only untidy thing about her is the overwhelming pride she's feeling right now for her firstborn. Rascal smiles at her. She snaps a picture of him.

"So, without further ado, let me present the heir apparent! Scion of one of the giants of twentieth-century American literature! The successor to the throne!" Rascal and I flinch in unison at each sentence. The man continues with a flourish, "Raskolnikov Page!" The crowd goes wild. Mom winces every time someone calls Rascal Raskolnikov. She lost a bet to Dad for the right to name their first son, and believe it or not, Rascal turned out to be the lesser of two evils. Rascal walks up to the podium and looks out into the crowd. I see his eyes fix on someone. I crane my neck to look past the stacks of books.

A wave of recognition rolls through the audience. He leans casually against one of the bookcases at the back of the store. Mom looks over her shoulder, gives him a small wave, and quickly turns her attention back to Rascal. I watch the people as they slowly realize whom they're standing next to.

Ben Page. My dad.

The kind of cultural icon that doesn't exist anymore. I remember for my best friend, Laurie's, eleventh birthday, her parents took us to Disneyland. Later that year, when my eleventh birthday rolled around, Laurie asked what I was doing to celebrate. I said I was going to New York to watch my father receive his second Pulitzer Prize.

Rascal clears his throat and takes a long drink from the bottle of water set out for him on the podium.

"Thank you for coming out tonight. I'm going to start by reading a passage from the novel, and then I'll take some questions before we call it a night," Rascal says as people in the audience shift and contort in their chairs. Who will they look at? It's an embarrassment of riches. Rascal's pale skin contrasts with his mop of dark brown curls. His features are delicate: pinkish lips, gentle blue eyes. His build is slight, with thin, long fingers, and his shoulders look as if a wire hanger is poking through his threadbare sweater. People always tell us we could be twins, much to Dad's chagrin. We both got Mom's patrician genes. We were built for an aristocratic existence. Neither one of us inherited Dad's workhorse build, that olive skin, the coarse hair, or his almost black eyes-which, as he grows older, are beginning to turn to sunlit amber and, in the innermost circles, the lightest of blues.

Rascal begins reading.

My body relaxes as my brother's voice fills the room. The audience is drawn in and can barely keep up. His prose is hot and fast, like a come-on to a one-night stand. He reads only the opening chapter, and even live, it won't be enough for them. The crowd applauds as Rascal closes the book and looks up.

"Okay. Any questions?" Rascal takes a drink of his water. Several anxious hands shoot into the air. He points to a twentysomething young man in the third row who has more product in his hair than I do, and I believe he's wearing a velvet blazer.

"I just want to say that, first off, you are like a god, man," the guy oozes. The crowd titters. Rascal forces a smile. I can see him look toward the back of the room at Dad. Is my brother embarrassed? I glance quickly at Dad. He's rubbing his eyes like he has a headache. Ahhh-the unwashed masses and their inconvenient adoration of our family. I've always wondered why Dad was so bothered by people whose only sin was simply enjoying and connecting with his work. I've never made a big fuss to Dad about his writing, even though his brilliance awes me-humbles me. I was afraid it would open up an unwelcome dialogue about what exactly I was doing with my life and, more importantly, what am I doing to change the world? I've found the best and safest method in dealing with my father is to keep a safe distance and watch the fireworks from a remote mountaintop.

"I just want to know if, like-you know, coming from the family you did helped you get published. I mean, it probably didn't hurt having Page as your last name, right?" The guy looks eagerly around at the crowd for validation. Everyone in the room has silently asked this question in his or her mind. But now they all act horrified that this guy had the nerve to ask it, especially as the first question. Rascal is unimpressed. He's used to it-the constant comparisons to Dad in every area of his life.

"Let's see." Rascal draws it out like a pitcher's windup before hurling a hundred-mile-an-hour fastball. He continues, "My father is perhaps the greatest writer of his generation, and I roll up and say I've written this manuscript that I think is pretty good. Now, any other writer, on his best day, doesn't get constantly measured against my father. But in every single review of my book, I'm compared, head to head, with him. So, yeah, I probably moved right to the top of the slush pile in my agent's office. But after that, I'm kinda fucked, huh?" The crowd laughs nervously. Everyone checks to see if Dad is laughing. His face is expressionless and focused. The same look is mirrored in Rascal as he points to a woman in the front row who's raised her hand. I've spent so many years trying to free myself from these great shadows. The hitch is, I'm equal parts repulsed and enticed by them.

"Who are your influences, Raskolnikov? Who inspired you to-I mean, besides the obvious, of course-who inspired you to write?" The woman sneaks a coquettish look back at Dad.

"Ma'am, my own mother doesn't call me Raskolnikov," Rascal corrects with the slightest of edges to his voice. Mom tenses. In turn, Rascal flashes a conciliatory smile to the woman. The bookstore owner who introduced him shifts in his chair. Rascal continues speaking. "I went through the usual list of rebellious-guy literature-Burroughs, Thompson, Bukowski, Rollins, just like every other zit-faced kid with a constant hard-on. I found Milan Kundera because one of his covers had a naked lady on it. A lot of Richard Ford. I went through a whole Pynchon thing. Hope that answers your question, ma'am ..." Rascal trails off. Mom is wincing. She didn't bargain for "constant hard-on" talk. I'm unfazed by it. My brother and I are the truest blend of our two parents: We'll tell you to fuck off but then apologize profusely, call you "ma'am" or "sir," and follow that up with some kind of card and/or flower arrangement.

"And your father?" the woman blurts. The entire room gasps.

"I don't know ... Dad? Who are your influences?" Rascal casually takes a drink from his water bottle as the entire room shifts in their chairs to get an official look at the great Ben Page. The woman tries to correct the misunderstanding. She tries to spit out that what she meant to ask was whether Rascal was influenced by his father, not who inspired Ben to write. "It's a misunderstanding," she yells. Rascal slowly sips. Dad doesn't move from his languid, leaning position-his arms crossed across his wide chest, his black hair swooping effortlessly over his eyes. His lower lip is forever contorted into a relaxed curl that, when not cradling his beloved pipe, looks like an ominous snarl. How many times have I seen this look? I take a long breath. Finished batting the woman around like a trapped mouse, Rascal has offered the woman up for sacrifice. Dad goes in for the kill.

"Come to the party, Lady. I named my own kid Raskolnikov. You do the math." Dad's voice is smooth as he finishes with a benign smile. Rascal is nodding and laughing to himself. The crowd goes wild. Rascal looks up from the podium. There is the sweetest moment between them. Nothing like the evisceration of an overzealous fan to bring father and son together.

Our family: bonding through blood sport.


Excerpted from Seeing Me Naked by Liza Palmer Copyright © 2008 by Liza Palmer. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Seeing Me Naked 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 39 reviews.
GonzoGGonzo More than 1 year ago
First off, Palmer can write. Not 'construct a sentence, give us a few laughs', write, but 'weave emotion and detail and character with such style you're amazed she isn't a household name', write. This isn't fluff. This isn't the 'lost girl searching for the right guy,' although there is a bit of that. This is a novel in which character dynamics with family and friends are vivid and real. The dialogue is crisp and full of subtext that most readers will miss, thinking that, like many chick-lit novels, the characters are rather one-dimensional. The reason why this works is Palmer KNOWS how to write male characters, another rarity in this sub-genre. This alone elevates her prose to the point that male readers will enjoy the novel just as much as female readers. Palmer now needs to pen a novel that goes beyond one member of the Page family. She knows these characters inside and out and it would be a shame if readers aren't treated to another helping of their wonderfully delicious family dysfunction.
risadabomb on LibraryThing 8 months ago
This book was a little hard to get into but I am really glad I stuck with it because it ended up being a good read. I really liked the way Elisabeth's character grew throughout the story and Daniel was a total hottie.
butterflybaby on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Elizabeth Page is a 5 star chef. She works in a field that is completely oppisite of her famous father and brother who are writers. She is waiting for the man she thinks she loves to love her enough to stay and trying to figure out where her life is really going. Since her five/eleven year plan is failing her. At one of her mother's charity auctions she meets a man she thought she would never fall for. It turns out that she fell in love with him anyway. This book is a definition of dysfunctional. Father making out with son's current fling in the kitchen at a family dinner, Fist fight at Thanksgiving, Chef that degrads and disrespects his employees. I think what saved this book was the ending. The initmate life changing event of witnessing a child being born, and a boyfriend willing to put aside his ego for just one minute to see the bigger picture. I think Daniel's character was a wonderful fantasy but I don't think it was very realistic that he would get Elizabeth's insecurities and fears without her having to spell them out
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I couldnt put it down!!! You instantly fall in love with the characters and everything about them. Incredible story and writing!
babsped More than 1 year ago
Although the book is a little slow in the beginning, it picked up when Elisabeth met Daniel. It was a cute story and a bit sad to think about how disappointing she saw herself. There was a little too much inner dialogue of Elisabeth but overall it is a well written. I could have done without the story of her assistant chef as it seemed a bit fluffy. Enjoyed the rest of the storylines though, especially how her relationship with her family and Daniel pans out.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is in my top five most favorite books. Ever! I loved the Daniel and Elisabeth relationship at all stages. Each time I read this book, I cheer for Daniel and Elisabeth even more. I recommend this book to all my friends and family. You will like this story!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed the written style, but did not care for the book as a whole.
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csingh More than 1 year ago
Elizabeth Page is the under achiever in a family of over achievers. She's chosen to be a pastry chef, while her older brother, Rascal, and father Ben, are literary geniuses, each with award winning books under their belts. Ballard Foster, Elizabeth's mother, is from THE Foster family, and has inherited a fortune. Elizabeth is in a "relationship" with Will, a childhood friend who is an international reporter. At one of her mother's soirees benefiting charity, Elizabeth meets and goads Daniel Sullivan , the antithesis to the men in her life, to bid on and win her contribution to the prizes being raffled on. What follows is an unlikely romance. You'd think that this book coming in at just under 300 pages would be a light fluffy read, but Liza Palmer surprises and dazzles once again with a story that's not just flirty and romantic, but that also has serious undertones about relationships and roles in the family. It's both endearing and heart rending at the same time, a skill Ms. Palmer has in spades.
WriterSharon More than 1 year ago
Love, love, LOVED this book! It was emotional without being sappy, witty, smart and engaging. The characters felt like old friends. The writing was SUPERB. I can't say enough about this writer. Pick up her other books, too.
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I was skeptical of this book at first because of it's title and cover (seems racy, eh). Yet, it was not long before I began to see that it was a solid story with great writing. The novel's genre is romance at its base, but it reaches beyond.
Winterblue More than 1 year ago
I found this book very enjoyable and engaging. Perfect reading for a lazy day in the sunshine or a rainy day on the couch.
JRand More than 1 year ago
I started reading this book and couldn't put it down. You can easily identify with the characters. The main character learns about finding love, finding herself, and learning to take pride in that.
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EffieTX More than 1 year ago
I picked up this book when it was on sale as a bargin book. Now, I have to admit I didn't expect much.. and was so pleasantly surprised at what a delightful story this is. I would not have regreted paying full price for this book. Now I am going to have to read the other book by this author, Conversations with the Fat Girl. I could not wait to read the entire story to see what happens.. and at the same time hated for the story to end. I hope to see many more books being written by this author.. Totally recommend this book for those who just enjoy reading a good story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago