Local author reaches out to women

December 12, 2009|By TIFFANY ARNOLD

It became clear a few pages in that the title of Julie Gaver's book "Must Love Shoes" is a bit misleading.

"The book isn't really about shoes," said Gaver. "The book is for women who truly embrace who they are, embrace life and try to live life fully and don't take themselves too seriously."

Metaphorically, shoes are the ties the bind us as women, Gaver said. And, in fact, the book begins and ends with anecdotes about shoes. But the takeaway, Gaver said, is for women to understand that life is a compilation of stories and that it is through these shared stories, people are able to connect with each other.

Gaver, 52, of Myersville, Md., hosted an event earlier this month at the Washington County Arts Council in downtown Hagerstown, where she met with fans and signed copies of her book.


Gaver self-published "Must Love Shoes," and hired a Washington County-based graphic artist, editor and print shop to "keep it local," she said.

Gaver, a married corporate trainer with two grown sons, chatted with The Herald-Mail about what inspired her to write the book.

"I've come to value relationships with other women as I age," Gaver said. "So many of the things we share, I think, women understand."

Things like shoes. Gaver's writing style is light, written in a series of first-person anecdotes that she serves up tapas style.

Parts of the book are funny - like the "underwear" incident.

Gaver was at an office supply store on an errand - one of the makeup-less, dirty-jeans, hair-pulled-back-in-a-Scrunchie kind of errands - when she noticed a pair of her "previously worn" black panties protruding from the legs of her jeans.

She said she did what any self-respecting and proper woman would have done.

Gaver writes: "I bent over, fetched those suckers right up, stuffed them in my pocket with all the dignity I could muster ... and acted like nothing .... ever ... happened."

Which would have worked, she writes, had there not been a guy standing there watching. His response: "Niiiiiiice."

But Gaver does tackle some serious topics, like when her father John Kuhn, 77, was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Gaver writes about what it was like when she and her sister did a breast cancer walk in Washington, D.C., In the book, she said the two of them raised $9,000 for charity and walked 39.3 miles.

She said humor helped them get through during her father's treatment.

"And he's a survivor," Gaver said during the interview.

As for what's next for Gaver, she says she plans to turn "Must Love Shoes" into a series. Her goal, she says, is to encourage women to celebrate being true to themselves while, in the meantime, enjoying the ride of life.

"Often, we get so caught up in how we think we're supposed to be, or how society defines us to be, we kind of lose appreciation for ourselves and what we have to offer," Gaver said.

Where to buy

To purchase a copy of Julie Gaver's "Must Love Shoes: A Collection of Stories About Life in a Woman's Shoes," e-mail .

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