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  • Writer's pictureStephanie Brown

Lloyd Dobler, Thin Mints, and a Preorder Discount

Contemplating a copy of Flowers and Fruit

My daughters had a brief career as Girl Scouts. The annual cookie sale was a contributing factor to their short-lived membership: neither of them could bring herself to sell cookies. They inherited this disinclination to commerce from my husband and me. When, in the 1989 movie Say Anything, John Mahoney asked John Cusack about his career plans, and Cusack, playing Lloyd Dobler, responded that he "didn't want to buy, sell, or process anything," both of us felt it in our very souls.

I remember one February afternoon in about 2005 rehearsing our girls' cookie sales pitch in the kitchen. We practiced the whole conversation a few times, with each of us playing the role of Seller and Buyer. Then we put on our coats, walked down the front steps to the sidewalk, and walked up the next steps to the neighbor's house. I rang the doorbell. We could hear muffled sounds as our elderly neighbor made his way towards the door. We all took deep breaths. The neighbor opened the door. The girls stared up at him. He stared down at them. No one spoke.

Then they all looked at me.

I managed to get through the speech that we had prepared only to have the neighbor explain that his wife could not have sugar and, no, they would not be purchasing any cookies today. We took our colorful cookie order form and went home.

I stand on your front steps today offering you a discount code for my book. The Case of the Disappearing Gauguin is coming out as an academic monograph with the list price of $75 for the hardcover and $45 for the e-book. The softcover edition will follow late in 2025. Rowman & Littlefield, my publisher, issues monographs in hardcover first for the academic library market. Then 18 months later they publish a softcover edition. I have tried to get them to budge on the hardcover/softcover dates and pricing and been politely told to stay in my lane.

You are, of course, welcome to lay out the full cost for the hardcover or the e-book. Or--hang on, Lloyd--you can use the code RLFANDF30 and get 30% off when you order the book at

Here's the flyer with the full instructions on ordering:

Brown_AU Flyer
Download PDF • 243KB

I think you'll like it, and I hope you buy it.

For those of you who have been diligent readers of this blog, you'll find the book tells another part of Flowers and Fruit's story. Marie Henry, a key character here, makes only a cameo appearance in the book. She is awaiting her turn in the spotlight. Vincent van Gogh doesn't come onstage at all; all those characters who sat around drinking with Gauguin in Pont-Aven and Paris stay in the background. So if you hesitate to purchase because you think you've already read it all, trust me (and my beta readers): there's lots of new material.

I proofread the final draft of the cover two days ago. It won't be long now.

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