Freirich, Roy

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Freirich, Roy

PERSONAL:

Male.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Malibu, CA.

CAREER:

Screenwriter and songwriter.

WRITINGS:

Winged Creatures, St. Martin's Griffin (New York, NY), 2008.

SIDELIGHTS:

Roy Freirich is a screenwriter and songwriter based in Malibu, California. His first novel, Winged Creatures, published by St. Martin's Griffin in 2008, recounts the story of a brutal shooting in a restaurant that suddenly changes the course of numerous people's lives. Two of the people in the restaurant are killed, but five of the survivors find themselves nearly as altered as if they had been murdered. Bruce Laraby is an emergency room (ER) doctor who was at the restaurant just moments before the shooting—he was only picking up a cup of coffee on his way to start his shift, though, and left before the gunman opened fire. Already grieving his father, a wonderful doctor who recently died, Bruce finds his self-image and confidence plummeting when he is unable to save the two victims of the shooting, who are brought into his ER from the restaurant. Teenage friends Anne Hagen and Jimmy Jaspersen witness Anne's father being shot and killed, and as a result, they both sink into a deep silence, neither discussing the event. Anne and Jimmy handle the shooting in their own ways, with Anne channeling her grief into religious fanaticism in a search for meaning, and Jimmy contemplating suicide as he experiences survivor's guilt. Charlie Archenault, the owner of a driving school, makes it out of the restaurant with just a slight bullet graze and decides that he must have incredible luck. He applies this supposed luck to the roulette table and soon gambles away his entire life's savings. Finally, Carla Davenport, the restaurant cashier and a single mother, is completely traumatized by the shooting, to the point of developing delusions. Somehow, she believes that Bruce is going to save her. Consumed by her fantasy, she neglects her baby, eventually losing him to child protective services.

Freirich depicts a sad world filled with people who are already on the edge and need very little to push them over the edge into despair. He also illustrates, though, ways in which trauma can dissolve the debris of a troubled life and, once the healing process begins, result in a fresh, revived, existence. Paula Decker, in a review for School Library Journal, pointed out that "Freirich neither characterizes the gunman nor analyzes his motivation. Readers will wonder what fissure in his life exploded into such a violent act." However, a contributor for Kirkus Reviews remarked that "Freirich's debut novel offers an intriguing look at unique yet interrelated patterns of trauma and recovery." A Publishers Weekly reviewer commented that "while emotionally charged, the narrative isn't weighed down with sentiment as the characters search for, but don't necessarily find, closure." Joanne Wilkinson, in a review for Booklist, wrote that "Freirich employs a hyper, pop-culture-obsessed narrative voice to home in on the fleeting nature of existence."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, December 1, 2007, Joanne Wilkinson, review of Winged Creatures, p. 24.

Kirkus Reviews, November 15, 2007, review of Winged Creatures.

Publishers Weekly, November 12, 2007, review of Winged Creatures, p. 36.

School Library Journal, April 1, 2008, Paula Decker, review of Winged Creatures, p. 172.

ONLINE

Genre Go Round Reviews,http://genregoroundreviews.blogspot.com/ (November 1, 2007), Harriet Klausner, review of Winged Creatures.

Internet Movie Database,http://www.imdb.com/ (August 13, 2008), author profile.

Macmillan Web site,http://us.macmillan.com/ (August 13, 2008), author profile.

Winged Creatures Home Page,http://www.wingedcreatures.com (August 13, 2008).