"A Secret Word is a remarkably subtle and nuanced coming-of-age novel, which captures the dreamy rhythms of adolescence between staccato moments of crisis as
three perfectly ordinary and utterly memorable young southern women find themselves transported inexorably into the cosmopolitan landscape of womanhood. While many first novelists wave their arms and
stamp their feet to get our attention, Jennifer Paddock seduces the reader with the narrative equivalent of a raised eyebrow or the almost imperceptible nod of the head. At the end the reader is
inclined to ask of the writer as well as her characters—what’s next?”
Jay McInerney, author of Bright Lights, Big City
"A Secret Word is whole in a way that most of the kind are not; it resonates. That's partly because the three women at the center of the story are so memorable, their lives so
inexorably linked, and partly because Paddock writes like Raymond Carver with a bigger heart––simple, graceful but tough, always with an eye on the possibility of redemption."
Michael Knight, author of Goodnight, Nobody
"Jennifer Paddock’s writing is the result of the wise and sure work of a fine mind and steady hand. It is lean and clear in the way poetry lends its
best to fine prose."
Brad Watson, author of Aliens in the Prime of Their
"Poignant and true, Paddock’s language evokes the elegiac way lives play themselves out. Her characters are vividly alive, for she writes with her heart as well as her hands."
William Gay, author of Twilight
“In The Weight of Memory, Jennifer Paddock returns with a delicately nuanced story of friendship and identity. The setting of Alabama's Gulf Coast is rendered with quiet eloquence, as
are the strained relationships among three women whose lives intersect years after their childhood friendship faded. A riveting novel about memory, the meaning of home, and what we are willing to
Michelle Richmond,author of The Year of Fog
“There is something about Paddock’s writing that defies conventional description. The closest word I can summon is ‘magic’."