"An enjoyable, starry-eyed coming-of-age tale."
-- Kirkus Reviews
ONCE IN A LIFETIME
“I’ve waited long enough for my life to happen. I want to be neck-deep in something that keeps me up all night. Something so cool I’ll be petrified and sick to my stomach at the mere thought of it. I want to absolutely fry in inspiration, then capture it in oils and charcoals and bits of broken glass, in a piece of art that oozes magic and fear and possibility. I want to find a city. An adventure. A song. Something.
To hell with the American Dream. I want a reason to kick and scream.”
― Jessica Addentro, 1980s waitress, artist, and aspiring multimedia superstar in "Once in a Lifetime"
What's it Freaking About?
In 1984, punk is rampant. Andy Warhol rules. And 20-year-old art student Jessica is sick of all the excitement in the world going on without her. Hungry for the life she’s convinced is just beyond her fingertips, she sets her sights on an avant-garde study abroad program in London she can’t afford. Meanwhile, hometown boyfriend Drew wants to see other people if he’s not exciting enough to keep her stateside.
Jess and her buddies rent a beat-up apartment, trolling new wave clubs and waitressing double shifts in New Hope, PA, a cool and artsy restaurant town on the river, to scrounge-up tuition money. Then Jess meets Whit, a steamy daredevil guitarist who crawls through her window and makes her head spin like a record. The girls deal with cheating waiters, mystics, a military drag queen buddy, a Svengali bouncer, and the specter of AIDs. Before long, Jess has to decide if the men in her life will leave her as damaged as her cracked-glass mosaic art projects—and whether they’ll stand in the way of her dream semester in New Wave London.
Suzanne Mattaboni is a Pushcart-nominated fiction writer, blogger, essayist, corporate PR consultant, and a member of the Newsweek Expert Forum. A former community service reporter for Newsday, her work has been published in Seventeen, The Huffington Post, Mysterious Ways, Guideposts.com, 50 Word Stories, Dark Dossier, Motherwell, Turtle, The Best of LA Parent, & SixWordMemoirs.com. Her short fiction, essays, and poetry have appeared in anthologies including “Chicken Soup for the Soul – Miraculous Messages from Heaven,” “Pizza Parties and Poltergeist,” “Little Demon Digest,” “Running Wild Anthology of Stories,” “What’s a Nice Girl Like You Doing in a Relationship Like This?” and “2017 Stories Through the Ages.” She was the editor of the Writes of Passage GLVWG 2021 anthology. One of her short stories was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She was recently named a "Woman of Influence" by Lehigh Valley Business magazine. Suzanne has two talented children, one hysterically fun husband, and two ever-ravenous cats.
PRESS & MEDIA
"Mattaboni’s prose is rich with sharp dialogue, musical references, and painterly details ... the author has a talent for enlivening even minor characters with memorable personalities, and she manages to capture the very real magic of small bohemian towns. Overall, it’s as much a nostalgia trip as it is a bildungsroman, but the reader won’t have to have personally lived through the ’80s to appreciate this ebullient and engaging story of youthful longing and independence.
An enjoyable, starry-eyed coming-of-age tale." [read more]
RAVES FOR ONCE IN A LIFETIME:
Esteemed Writer Suzanne Mattaboni Launches Debut Novel, Once in a Lifetime, This Coming Spring [article]
"Wow. What a read..." [article]
"Girl-Power Self Discovery, Retro Style ... smart and entertaining" [article]
"... a fun, irreverent, yet intelligent read, achingly full of the things young people yearn for when it’s time to launch themselves into the adult world." [article]
"Ms. Mattaboni’s beautifully written novel is a tribute to life during a period many of us remember longingly."
-- Susan Sofayov, award-winning author of Defective and Jerusalem Stone.
24symbols' "Book of the Week"
"An entertaining read that celebrates the electrifying spirit of the 1980s and youthful confidence. Charmingly sassy and outspoken." [listing]
In the Headlines:
Suzanne's Newsweek Expert Forum column, "What Fiction Writers Can Learn..."
The Real 1984
1984 Was The Year That:
The Talking Heads concert film "Stop Making Sense" hit theaters.
The Cars released their album "Shake It Up." Lead singer Ric Ocasek met model Paulina Porizkova on the set of the video for their song "Drive." The two later got married.
The Good Rats' Bob Geldof got together with Sting, U2's Bono, members of Duran Duran, Tony Hadley of Spandau Ballet, Boy George, George Michael, and various other UK artists to produce the record "Do They Know It's Christmas?" This event led to Geldof planning 1985's Live Aid concert.
Interview magazine's covers featured Rob Lowe, Grace Jones, Jack Nicholson, Diane Lane, Goldie Hawn, and Diana Ross.
Prince's album and film "Purple Rain" were all over the place.
Vanessa Williams was named Miss America, and later stripped of her title due to a racy girl-on-girl photo layout that surfaced in Hustler magazine.
David Bowie recorded and released the album "Tonight" featuring the song "1984."
The Pretenders released "Learning to Crawl" featuring "Middle of the Road" and "My City Was Gone" (That's the one about Ohio.)
Ronald Reagan won the presidential election against Walter Mondale. Mondale's VP running mate was Geraldine Ferraro, the first woman to run on a major political party's presidential ticket.
Thriller won Album of the Year at the 26th Annual Grammy Awards. Culture Club won best new artist. Big Country, Herbie Hancock, and the Eurythmics performed.
Apple launched its first Macintosh computer, featuring a bleak & industrial "1984"-themed ad campaign.
Songwriter Billy Joel was dating supermodel Christie Brinkley. They got married the next year.
The Icicle Works released the single "Whisper to a Scream (Birds Fly)"
Suzanne is a host of the Banzai Retro Club podcasts, focusing on pop culture from the '70s, '80s, & '90s, including her series on New Wave music of the decade with co-host Scott Compton.