Local novelist Mary Rowen enjoyed living in Winthrop so much that she decided to make her main character in â€œLeaving the Beachâ€ a resident of the town.
Rowenâ€™s book, released by independent publisher Booktrope, is set primarily in Winthrop and is about a bulimic woman whoÂ believes sheâ€™s destined to become the soul mate of a rock icon.
A lot of the main characterâ€™s eating disorder issues draw on Rowenâ€™s own experience with bulimia. â€œBut the book is total fiction. This is not a memoir or my own personal story.â€
The book is Rowenâ€™s second work. Her first book, â€œLiving By Earâ€ has a similar title but an entirely different story.
â€œAfter college [Providence College] I lived in Winthrop for nine years and I just loved it,â€ said Rowen, who is now living in the suburbs of Boston with her husband, Mike, and two middle school-age children. â€œI loved Winthrop â€“ the people, the beaches, just the feel of it.â€
Rowen said it was fitting to base the book in Winthrop because there are two beach scenes. The book traces 15 years in the life of a bulimic woman. â€œAt the end of the story, she is in her 30s, so itâ€™s a coming of age story. But this is not a young adult story. Itâ€™s definitely written for adults. A lot of men like the book but I would say itâ€™s in the womenâ€™s fiction category.â€
Rowen was an English major at Providence and wrote poetry. â€œAfter working at MASSPIRG, I taught English at a school in Boston,â€ said Rowen. â€œI then went into marketing.â€
Rowen, who is in her 40s, had bulimia in her late high school years through early adulthood.
â€œIâ€™m healthy now,â€ said Rowen. â€œBut I understand that world. I didnâ€™t want to write an issue book about an illness or a disease. Itâ€™s not about the eating disorder. The book is about a woman and how she is obsessed with music and she believes that she is destined to be with a rock star.â€
Rowen said she and her husband would love to return to Winthrop when her kids are older.
Asked if she thinks Winthrop residents will enjoy the book, Rowen replied, â€œI sure hope so. This is definitely a Winthrop story. I hope the people of Winthrop will like it.â€
(â€œLeaving the Beachâ€ is available at Suzanne Martucciâ€™s Winthrop Book Depot and Cafeâ€™ and Simonâ€™s Bookstore. Mary Rowen will be doing a book signing and reading at the Book Depot on July 19, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.).