A few weeks ago I went to an event called Readers & ‘Ritas which featured many authors, some I had heard of, some that I had not. While at breakfast before the event started, I met Alexandra Allred who happens to live in the DFW area (met a lot of authors that live in this area!). When I realized she was an author I asked her about her most recent novel. After she told me about her work I had to go and buy it because it sounded like a good read. Of course I had to have her sign it….can’t pass up that opportunity!
Bio (from her website) – While I met Alex in person at Readers & ‘Ritas, I had no idea everything she had accomplished in her life! Wow!
Alexandra Powe Allred graduated from Texas A&M University with a B.A. in History, saying, “As everyone knows, once you get a degree in history, all you can really do is teach or write. I’m just doing what I can!”
As the daughter of a (now retired) U.S. Diplomat, Allred traveled all over the United States and around the world. Her writing career began before graduation with several pieces on bi-lingual education with national education publications. But the real stories began while living as a youth in Moscow, Russia. Under a communist regime, imagination and the ability to create stories was the very best way to beat boredom (and the freezing cold!).
As her career was taking off, Allred embraced her second passion — sports. She trained for and made the U.S. women’s bobsled team in 1994, becoming the first U.S. National Champion. She was named Athlete of the Year by the United States Olympic Committee and garnered much worldwide attention as she was also 4 1/2 months pregnant at the time! Her training regimen was (and is) used by the United States and International Olympic Committees for pregnant athletes. Following her retirement from the sport in 1998, Allred returned to the literary world with The Quiet Storm. While living in the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, NY, she was able to talk to Olympic and National athletes from all disciplines and share with sports enthusiasts. From there, her career was launched. She did adventure freelance writing for Sports Illustrated, Muscle & Fitness for Her, and Volvo magazines. She held a sports column, worked as an editor for NOW magazines outside Dallas, Texas and began working as a Clean Air advocate, often testifying before the EPA.
Today, she writes (mostly) fiction, teaches kinesiology classes for Navarro Community College while enjoying her family and animals in Texas.
Everyone thought when and how Joanna Lucas decided to leave her husband was the most shocking thing they had ever seen, that is, until she moved. But when the outsider befriends a stripper-turned-Mormon, a one-legged woman who lost her appendage to a loose tiger and the outrageous Jeanie Archer, things really heat up. With such friends on her side, the underworld of polluting and big-dollar politics is finally exposed and that’s just the beginning.
Damaged Goods, while fiction, is based on a lot of true facts. Think of it as Erin Brockovich comes to Texas! Alex addresses the issues in a town south of Dallas that had cement plants which cause environmental issues which results in health issues for the residents of the town.
I have to say that while reading this book I tried to picture it in that town south of Dallas. I’m not sure if my imagination did a good job of that, but hey that is in my head, which you are not! The characters were multi-faceted and I found myself relating to some of the characters and appreciating the strength of the women who decided to stand up to the politicians. There were also sad portions of the story (to be expected) that tugged at my heart. Yes I know it is a story, but I felt like these characters were my neighbors (which they could be in a way).
All in all I give the story 4 paws. The only negative is that when the author switched between characters and their point of view, it took me a few minutes to figure out whose viewpoint was now being expressed.