Monday, March 21, 2016

Viola Shipman's "The Charm Bracelet"

Viola Shipman is a pen name for Wade Rouse, a popular, award-winning memoirist. Rouse chose his grandmother’s name to honor the woman whose charm bracelet and family stories inspired him to write his debut novel, The Charm Bracelet, which is a tribute to all of our elders. Rouse lives in Michigan and writes regularly for People and Coastal Living, among other places, and is a contributor to All Things Considered. To date, The Charm Bracelet has been translated into nine languages. He is at work on his second “heirloom novel,” which will be published in 2017.

Here Rouse dreamcasts an adaptation of The Charm Bracelet:
Oh, every author dreams about this, whether they're having a brain-freeze in the middle of a page, or having drinks with friends. It's also a big question authors get at events and book clubs. The Charm Bracelet would make a compelling film and a great vehicle for three generations of actresses. In short, the novel is about how the charms on a grandmother's bracelet reconnect her in this too-busy age with her daughter and granddaughter and remind them of what's most important in life: Family, friends, faith, fun, love and a passion for what you do. The book was inspired by my grandmothers' charms, life and lessons, and is written under one of their names as a tribute to the women who made me who I am today.

Lolly Lindsey is the bigger-than-life, wig-wearing matriarch of the family, who still collects charms, lives in the resort town of Scoops, Michigan, and draws tourists into the local fudge shop by singing Hello, Dolly in full costume. Now 70, Lolly is battling dementia and knows time is running out to reconnect with a daughter and granddaughter whose lives have become too busy for her and her family stories. Lolly is based on my grandmothers, and I learned through their charms that they were women who had led lives filled with incredible love, loss, hope and tragedy. Her daughter, Arden, works for the Chicago celebrity magazine Paparazzi, editing and writing code for the magazine’s website. While she is not content with her job, she spends many hours working, knowing that she must pay college tuition for her daughter, Lauren, an artist who is majoring in business solely to please her mother. The three women are reunited over Memorial Weekend, and their lives are changed through Lolly's unfettered desire to live in the moment and share the stories of their lives via the charms on her bracelet.

I have a lot of great actresses in mind for the three Lindsey ladies. I would love to see Shirley MacLaine as Lolly, or Lily Tomlin. I also see a number of mother-daughter combos starring in the movie: Reese Witherspoon and her daughter, Ava, could star as Arden and Lauren, or Goldie Hawn and Kate Hudson as Lolly and Arden. Or perhaps Ellen Burstyn as Lolly, Kristen Bell as Arden and Kiernan Shipka as Lauren. Maybe June Squibb as Lolly, Sandra Bullock as Arden and Ariel Winter as Lauren.

Can you tell I've thought a lot about this? Truly, it would be a dream to see this book as a movie, and it would be wonderful to see three generations of actresses tackle these roles and bring this family to life.
Visit Viola Shipman's website.

--Marshal Zeringue