Out of the Closet and Into Your Heart

The Cucumber Diaries: Juicy Tidbits from the Garden of My Life, by Kerry Lee Daniel
These days Asheville is bursting at the seams with traffic, hotels and breweries, and just when you think they can’t possibly shoehorn one more thing into this tiny mountain town, a new intersection popped up overnight. It sits below our mysterious vortex at the crossroads of Synchronicity and Serendipity. This magical bit of real estate is the playground of one of Asheville’s newest independent authors, Kerry Lee Daniel, who just released her first book, a delightful memoir entitled, The Cucumber Diaries: Juicy Tidbits from the Garden of My Life.

I met Kerry more than a decade ago when we featured her essay – The Big O – in WNC Woman. At first read, I nearly fell off my chair from laughing so hard. Hers was a fresh voice that not only tickled my funny bone but also evoked poignant memories of my own coming of age. And it apparently unleashed a flood of memories in other women as well, because it became the whispered talk of the town for a while. It was so popular and fun to read, we decided to run it again a few years later. After that, Kerry occasionally submitted a new memoir vignette, which made us wonder if she was working on a book. But then… she stopped. For a time, she continued to write engaging features for us about other people, but the ink in her pen seemed to have run out writing the funny business of her own life.

Kerry and I lost touch until we saw each other at another author’s book launch in October. There, she confided that she was in the process of publishing her own first book. It was so new that she didn’t even have books to sell yet. But I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it, so she was kind enough to send me a copy of the final manuscript. And what a read it is!

The Cucumber Diaries: Juicy Tidbits from the Garden of My Life is both a coming out and coming of age memoir. (And good news – The Big O is a chapter in the book.) In this collection of stories from her life, Kerry examines her own sexual awakening and coming out with humor and heart. Little did this shy young girl in a Colorado prairie town know that her personal journey would include a beauty pageant, pompadours, proms, wise cats, a quickie “I Do” to “I Don’t” marriage, strange cucumbers, movie stars, and lesbian bowling leagues.

Along the way, Kerry learns what true love is. She spent years hiding her sexual identity from those closest to her. She even married a childhood friend because she felt society expected her to. It would take a revelatory moment in a movie theater to shake Kerry out of her confusion and spark her own epic love story. In this witty, mischievous memoir, you’ll share Kerry’s laughter and tears as she realizes that there are women out there just like her – and she’d move heaven and earth to find them.

This charming, tender, roller-coaster ride of a book will leave you dizzy with laughter one moment, and then in the next it will suck the wind from your lungs as it drops you into a dark and harrowing canyon or drags you along a rutted road from which you are not certain you will recover. Written in first person present tense, you are a passenger riding side-by-side with the author, through all the ups and downs of her life. When the ride finally comes to a stop at the station, you are exhilarated that you survived. You smile, take a deep breath, and can’t wait to ride again.

I’ve read quite a few memoirs over the years. Some were humorous, some quite heartbreaking. But I can’t remember reading a single one where the author moved the reader from laughter to tears as deftly or as beautifully as Kerry does in this book. Hers is a rich, juicy, adventure-filled, and ultimately triumphant life that will have you cheering her on from the first page to the last.

Order The Cucumber Diaries: Juicy Tidbits from the Garden of My Life on Amazon. Visit kerryleedaniel.com for a preview and a few giggles.

Julie Parker, along with Sandi Tomlin-Sutker and Sandra Grace, was co-founder/publisher/editor of WNC WOMAN. Now she is up to her elbows in her second book. The first – The Vocabulary of Joy: Celebrating the Blessings of Life with Cancer – about her healing journey having said NO! to chemo and YES! to healing with nature, is available on Amazon. She is also busying herself these days being a book midwife: she’ll edit your book, design the interior, cover, business cards, website, and even help with your book launch.

Email julie@handwovenwebs.com for details!

Written by Julie Savage Parker