cover image Tell Me One Thing

Tell Me One Thing

Kerri Schlottman. Regal House, $18.95 trade paper (216p) ISBN 978-1-64603-301-0

Two women’s paths cross and their lives are forever altered in Schlottman’s dynamic, character-driven debut. In 1980, amateur SoHo-based photographer Quinn Bradford travels to Philadelphia with her boyfriend on a drug pickup run. While there, she spies Lulu, a young girl posed atop a trucker’s knee dangling a cigarette, and captures the moment with her Instamatic. The image becomes her “golden ticket” and catapults Quinn’s career and notoriety to unforeseen heights. Four decades later, with Quinn’s popularity swelling demand for her work, the now-iconic Lulu and the Trucker image commands a high price at auction. In a parallel narrative following the moment of the snapshot, Lulu deals with a hardscrabble childhood living in a trailer park with her mother, a sex worker who’s addicted to drugs and resentful of Lulu’s burden. A crisis point arrives in the present day, when Lulu attends a retrospective of Quinn’s work, hoping to question Quinn as to why she never kept in touch. Schlottman acutely nails the misty, gold-hued atmosphere of the 1980s, and deeply explores themes of class and privilege. Though a surprising conclusion fumbles some of the narrative momentum, the ending is poignant nonetheless. This thought-provoking work will put readers on the lookout for what the author does next. (Jan.)