2011/2012 Feature Book of the Week #5
Jane in Bloom by Debby Lytton

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Jane's big sister, Lizzie, has always been the center of attention. No one ever pays attention to boring, plain Jane. But when Jane's twelfth birthday marks the beginning of Lizzie's fi nal descent into a fatal eating disorder, Jane discovers that the only thing harder than living in her big sister's shadow is living without her.

In the wake of tragedy, Jane learns to look through her camera lens and frame life differently, embracing her broken family and understanding that every girl has her season to blossom. Spare and vulnerable prose marks this beautiful debut that is at once heartbreaking and uplifting. (Publisher's summary from Goodreads)


Imagine you and I are sitting together in my favorite tea room in Los Angeles.  Maybe we would talk about our favorite books.   You would tell me what books you love. 
And then I would tell you that I love Pride and Prejudice, The Scarlet Letter, historical fiction about Queen Elizabeth I, Alice in Wonderland, the Wizard of Oz and Island of the Blue Dolphins.

Then you might ask me how I knew I wanted to be a writer. 

I have had many careers.  I’ve been an actress, a singer and an attorney.  But I became a writer because I love books.  I love staying up until three in the morning because I can’t stop reading.  I love laughing out loud, weeping in sorrow and falling in love.  I love making new friends.  Books are an escape for me.  Writing them is like embarking on a journey without knowing my destination.  Because I never know exactly what is happening next.  For me, writing is freedom.  I have to write, like I have to breathe.

Perhaps you would want to know why I decided to write Jane in Bloom

I wrote Jane in Bloom for anyone who has ever felt invisible.  Many years ago, I saw a television news segment about forgotten siblings.  They were lost in a family that was focused on a child with a problem.  That child took all the attention.  And the forgotten brother or sister was left alone.  Feeling invisible.  I wanted to tell their story.  And that became Jane’s story.  Jane is a girl who has been forgotten.  Because everyone around her is only looking at her older sister, Lizzie.  Lizzie could have had any number of problems.  But I decided to give her an eating disorder.  So many girls and women today struggle with their body images.  Our society tells us we need to look a certain way to be considered beautiful.  I wanted to show that beauty comes from within.  True beauty comes from being true to yourself.  From believing in yourself.   Jane learns this lesson.  Sadly, Lizzie does not. 

Many readers have asked me why Jane becomes a photographer in the book.

I wanted to give Jane a creative outlet to express herself.  I believe in writing what I know, so I needed to choose something I could understand.  I am a really terrible artist, so art was out.  I am a fairly good photographer, though.  Photography is a way to express yourself while being able to remain invisible.  You aren’t in the photograph, rather it is your vision that is seen in the photograph.  This allows for expression without exposure.  I liked this for Jane.  In order to write about Jane’s experience as a photographer, I took my camera and went out and shot photos of roses.  It was much more difficult than I imagined it would be.  But it let me into Jane’s world even more. 
I hope before we finish our tea, you would tell me about your own writing. 

I believe all of us have stories to tell, and that no one can tell a story exactly the way that you would tell it.  The best lesson I have learned about being a writer is to write.  Because the lovely thing about writing is that it improves with practice.  And you don’t need anyone else to help you.  You can take a pen and paper, or write on your computer.  All you need is your imagination.  And if you let it, your imagination will take you on a fantastic journey.

Thank you for reading Jane in Bloom.  I am really grateful to know that Jane’s story is being shared. 

Deborah Lytton


Deborah Lytton is a writer and actress who grew up in front of the camera, beginning her career at age six when she was discovered by a Hollywood agent.  Her acting credits include five years on the hit daytime soap opera Days of our Lives as “Melissa Anderson” and numerous television roles on shows such as Mod Squad, Family, The Waltons, The Incredible Hulk, Stone, Next Step Beyond and Streets of San Francisco.  

   Debby signed her first record deal with Curb Records at the age of twelve.  She went on to sing songs on the soundtracks for numerous films including Hot Lead and Cold Feet, Mac and Me and Let It Be Me.  She sang Time which appeared in the feature film Ballistic Ecks vs. Sever and was also on the film soundtrack.   In addition, she was one of the cast of the animated musical Rudolph the Movie for Good Times Entertainment. 

Debby is educated as an attorney, having graduated cum laude from both U.C.L.A., where she received a B.A. and from Pepperdine University School of Law, where she received a J.D.  Debby then went on to pass the Bar Exam in two states, California and Tennessee.

Debby resides in Los Angeles, California with her daughters, Ava and Caroline.  In her free time, Debby enjoys photography, studying martial arts and going to Disneyland.

Jane in Bloom is her first novel.  

I want to thank Debby Lytton for taking time out and providing such a wonderful guest post. 


7 Delicious Comments:

laduemiddle said...

This was a different book compared with the others, more like Invisible Lines than The Shifter, but it was still good nonetheless. Heartwarming in parts.

-A Ladue Middle Student

Rockwood South Middle School said...

A heart-warming story. A favorite part is when Jane meets Hunter and gets a puppy, Kona.

southeast middle school said...

Jane in Bloom was a really great story. We really loved how Jane started to come out of her shell and was becoming able to deal with the trauma of her sisters death. It was very heart-warming.

Anonymous said...

I L0VED this book. I thought that it was so sad when Jane's sister died. This was my favorite so far.

Hermione said...

OMG I luvvvv this book! It reminded of what happened to me when my friend died late last year. Luv this book.

Hazelwood West Middle School

Anonymous said...

Keep up the good work students!!!!!!You are doing really well so far!!!!!!!We all are wishing you guys good luck!!!

Cross Keys Middle School

Anonymous said...

North Middle!
I love that each aspect of Jane in Bloom was well thought out, from Lizzie's eating disorder, to Jane's photography. I've read this book twice!

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