Again, that was page 353.

Again, that was page 353.

Have I told you I’m mentioned on page 353 of Wally Lamb‘s new novel, “The Hour I First Believed”?   Yes, I believe I have.

I’m still shaking my head over the events of Sunday afternoon, mostly because it was so not me.

The local library booked Wally for a reading, and anticipating a large turnout, moved it to a community center.  Which, as it turned out, was not big enough.  I know, because, my copy of the novel in hand, I went to have the book signed.

I’d never been to a reading before.  And I never ask for autographs. 

If I had to estimate, and I guess I do, I’d say there were between 400 and 500 people in the room.  I got there on time, but not in time to find a chair.  So I stood in a corner for an hour while Wally read some autobiographical material, read from the novel, and took questions.  He was, by the way, fabulous.

Before he sat for the signing, he acknowledged two people in the room, and then, for whatever reason, acknowledged me.  I thought I had been as inconspicuous as I possibly could have been.

“Gerry Brooks from Channel 30 is here.  Gerry is mentioned in the book.  Gerry, what page was that?” 

“That would be page 353, Wally.”

The object of their affection.

The object of their affection.

We then queued up for the signing.  It was a very long line, small talk was being made, and then the damndest thing happened.  A woman asked me to sign page 353 of her copy.  And then another.  And another.  Embarrassment gave way to amusement.  Nobody really likes to stand in line, so I was a not unpleasant diversion.  A sideshow of sorts, warming up the crowd for a moment with the headliner.  I was asked to speak to someone’s mother on a cell phone, then to someone’s husband.  Which, of course, I did.  Another person took a picture with me to put it out on Twitter.  Hey, no problem.

It took an hour, but we finally made it to Wally’s signing table.  By then, I’d had several nice conversations and more than a few laughs. 

Wally is a warm, talented man, who remembered my appearance at his class at Norwich Free Academy when both of us had full heads of hair.  He signed the title page, “To the hero of page 353.”

Not really.  But I’d be happy to be his warmup act any day.


About Gerry

I've been covering Connecticut news and sports since 1974. I know, I don't look that old.
This entry was posted in It's all about me, Media, People. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Graham says:

    So, Gerry, when are you going to write YOUR book?
    When you do, don’t forget the bloggers!

  2. Linda says:

    Sounds like an amazing event! I’m glad you got to attend and be acknowledged. Our library has had several author events and they are always well attended. It’s got to be very exciting to have a well-known author mention you in a book. I love to read books that take place in Connecticut -it’s fun to recognize a place or event. I’m currently reading “Fireside” by Susan Wiggs. She acknowledges that she received help from the president and co-owner of the New Haven Cutters baseball team to write her book. When you finally write your book (you really must), please do an author event (or two) at a Connecticut library.

  3. Bruce says:

    Does this mean that I should frame the score cards you attest?

  4. Gerry says:

    Graham and Linda…thank you for the kind thought.
    And Bruce, the answer is no. You should burn them.

  5. Pingback: The Hour I Finished Wally Lamb’s Novel « The Brooks File

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