Johnnie Come Lately
by Kathleen M. Rodgers
|Kathleen M. Rodgers|
Why, we wonder, why?
There are newer griefs as well: Johnnie’s brief extramarital fling, middle-child Cade’s sudden decision to abandon plans for college in favor of enlistment in the Iraq war, Johnnie’s continuing struggle against the bulimia that nearly killed her.
A long-time magazine writer, Rodgers has recounted her personal struggle against bulimia in numerous publications. The descriptions of her character Johnnie Kitchen’s struggle against the deadly eating disorder have the ring of heartbreaking truth, but are told with grace and compassion.
It’s tempting to see this novel as a self-portrait of Rodgers, who has put so much of herself and her milieu into it: the little Texas town of Portion, with its quaint main street patterned after the equally small and quaint North Texas suburb of Grapevine; Rodgers’ own battle against bulimia; the anguish of her son’s wartime enlistment.
I’ve known Rodgers for the past several years, since our initial meeting at the Dallas Writers Garrett, and then learning that we’d both participated in Southern Methodist University’s creative writing program, although in different years. Rodgers is not Johnnie, but she’s made a place for Johnnie in the hearts of her readers.
Rodgers’ Johnnie Come Lately made its debut last Saturday, February 7, at the Southlake, Texas, Barnes and Noble. It and the new edition of her first novel, The Final Salute, are shelved under “new fiction” at the Southlake B&N, and are available at
For more about Rodgers and her writing, including her next novel, see www.kathleenMRodgers.com/.