For author Callie Wright, Cooperstown is the place that will always feel like home — even though, when she first arrived in the village more than 20 years ago, it was just the opposite.
“We moved (to Cooperstown) from Texas when I was young, and we sounded every bit the part,” Wright, a 1996 graduate of Cooperstown High School, explained in a recent phone interview.
“The first day of school, I remember standing up in front of the class, and they would feed me words to repeat in my Texas accent,” Wright recalled. “All I wanted to do is fit in.”
Fast-forward a few years to an adolescent Wright hearing about a 1962 novel titled “The Sex Cure.” Set in a thinly veiled Cooperstown, with a cast of characters whose names closely resembled a number of prominent real-life citizens of the village, the book was a scandal in its time, and the author, who had written under a pen name, was quickly outed, harassed and even sued.
“It wasn’t the book, so much as the story of the author daring to write this book, that fascinated me,” Wright explained. “She was immediately run out of town, and I couldn’t understand why someone would do that. Why, once you’re in, would you risk being run out.”
That teenage wonderment Wright felt years earlier planted the seeds of her debut novel, “Love All,” published in July by Henry Holt.
The novel has received positive reviews from Oprah.com, Vanity Fair, Marie Claire and Elle, with award-winning novelist Ann Beattie calling it a “stirring, well-wrought debut,” and noting that Wright “has no trouble getting under the skin of her all too human characters, treating young and old, male and female, with a master storyteller’s equality of insight.”
Set in Cooperstown during the mid-1990s, “Love All” tells the story of a family whose members are each struggling with secrets. Chapters in the book alternate between the points of view of each, from teenage Julia to her grandfather Bob, whose own secrets were once in danger of being revealed by “The Sex Cure.”