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Friday, Aug. 27, 2010

Readers Decide Fate in ‘Million Little Mistakes’

Heather McElhatton’s grown-up take on ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’

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Many Gen-Xers will recall the “Choose Your Own Adventure” children’s books, where the reader assumes the guise of the main character and is able to determine how the story should progress, leading to multiple plotlines and fresh, divergent escapades with the single jump of a page. In Million Little Mistakes, Heather McElhatton adopts this style and applies it to adult situations. With more than 150 possible endings, the “choose your own adventure” format is similar to the classic series and entrusts readers to design a unique tale.

Million Little Mistakes has one beginning: You have just won $22 million in the lottery. The rest, however, is up to your imagination. Do you quit your job? Travel the world? Save an endangered species from extinction? The multiple lives you can explore in Million Little Mistakes include the extravagant and the deranged, with circumstances both highly entertaining and wildly bizarre. Given the chance to live as a millionaire, some readers may find that money does indeed buy them happiness, while others discover that their pursuits leave them destitute. The outcome depends on readers’ predilections in this original, addictive style of storytelling.

Million Little Mistakes is McElhatton’s second grown-up version of the “Choose Your Own Adventure” novels, following her 2007 best-selling novel, Pretty Little Mistakes. She has also penned numerous short stories, including Red Shoes, which was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2001. Beyond writing, McElhatton is an independent producer for Minnesota Public Radio and Public Radio International. McElhatton, who was born in Chicago, studied creative writing at the University of London and earned her MFA from Warren Wilson College in North Carolina. She will visit Next Chapter Bookshop on Thursday, Sept. 2, for a 7 p.m. reading and book signing.

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