Fanny Fitzpatrick and the Brother Problem by Dana Hammer

Fanny Fitzpatrick and the Brother Problem  by Dana Hammer   ~~~~~~~~~~~~~   GENRE: Middle-Grade Greek Mythology

Fanny Fitzpatrick and the Brother Problem

by Dana Hammer 


GENRE: Middle-Grade Greek Mythology 



Dion Isaacs (the reincarnation of Dionysius), Athena’s brother, is wreaking havoc. After an unfortunate bee venom poisoning at his wine business, he is down on his luck and crashes at Athena’s place. But the former god of wine, feasting, and excess is a bad influence on Fanny’s best friends, with his partying, wacky business schemes, and general debauchery. Sure, Dion is a fun guy. But there is such a thing as too much fun, and Fanny seems to be the only one who sees it. 

Meanwhile, Fanny’s mother is suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum, which basically means she pukes all the time because she’s pregnant. With her mom unable to work, her dad is taking extra shifts to make more money, and things are getting tense at home. Fanny is excited to be a big sister, but all this sickness and stress over money are starting to take their toll on her. 

Can Fanny save her friends from Dion’s negative influence, while also solving her family’s money problems? Of course, she can. She’s Fanny Fitzpatrick. 



I wake up in the morning to the sound of my mom puking. She’s not a quiet poker. It sounds like she’s trying to vomit up all the organs in her body while also running a chainsaw or something. And, worse, she’s been doing it for days now. Last night, we were eating dinner and she couldn’t keep any of it down. She said it was the onions, but she normally likes onions, so I think she’s just very sick. 

At first, I thought it was just a stomach bug or maybe food poisoning. I remember one time I got food poisoning from some bad tacos, and it was the worst thing ever. I was so miserable I wanted to die. 

But like I said, it’s been days now. She should be feeling better. And for the first time, I’m really worried about Mom. I wonder if it’s something serious. I remember a couple years ago when Toya’s mom was vomiting all the time because she was having chemotherapy for breast cancer. Her mom is fine now, but she was really sick for a long time. 


Ice Cream

Dana Hammer 

In my newest book, Fanny Fitzpatrick and the Brother Problem, Fanny’s best friend’s brother plans to win an ice cream eating contest. Specifically, he needs to eat a massive amount of peach ice cream in record time, in order to win $25,000, which he plans to use for seed money for a cheese business. As a result, a lot of this book revolves around ice cream. This is a good thing because ice cream is important to me and to society as a whole.

 There used to be a billboard near my house, advertising some kind of hipster nonsense that was labelled “not your grandma’s ice cream.” This billboard infuriated me. What the hell is wrong with my grandma’s ice cream? My grandma served gorgeous scoops of vanilla, served with her homemade strawberry sauce, and I could eat that stuff three meals a day until I died. And isn’t the whole point of ice cream that it IS old-fashioned and classic? Ice cream is perfect, as is, and does not need updating. 

I once dated a guy who asked me, casually, what my favourite flavour of ice cream was. It’s an important question, and so I gave it its proper consideration. I explained that my absolute favourite was a hot fudge sundae, made with vanilla, and served with whipped cream, crushed peanuts, and a cherry — ideally a real maraschino cherry, preserved in maraschino liqueur, but one of those neon-pink jar cherries would do in a pinch. I went on to state that not counting sundaes, my favourite flavour was cookies and cream. And of course, I raved about my grandma’s strawberry sauce, and how I’d recently learned to make it myself, and put it on lots of things that were not ice cream, like toast and biscuits, because it was just that delicious. 

He paused after I gave him this information, giving me a long look. Then he said, “…I meant chocolate or vanilla.”

I should have known then that it would never work out with us. 

I’ve tried to be a good mother and make sure my daughter has access to all the best ice creams, at all times. And she does like ice cream. But even the best and most attentive mothers can only control so much, and negative influences are bound to sneak in. Unfortunately, my child has been corrupted by…frozen yoghurt. 

OK. So if I’d never had ice cream in my life, I would probably be fine with frozen yogurt. But I have had ice cream. I know what it’s supposed to taste like. Frozen yoghurt is to ice cream what Diet Coke is to Coca-Cola Classic. It’s just not as good. But my daughter loves it. 

I’m an open-minded, liberal mom, who allows her daughter to make her own choices in life, so I will, on occasion, take her to a frozen yogurt place. This always winds up costing me $17 a bowl, because she has zero moderation when it comes to toppings, and cannot decide between flavors. So she winds up with some franken-yogurt monstrosity, with Nutella, pineapple, chocolate, pistachio, and mango all lined up in weird squirts, and half a pound of gummy worms ladled on top. Just typing this out makes me feel nauseated. Watching her eat it will make me actually throw up. So instead of witnessing this culinary atrocity, I take out my iPad and play a game until she’s finished. Is this my best parenting? No. But I do what I need to do to get through this nightmare. 

I tell myself that my daughter is not me, and we don’t have to like the same things. And maybe this will be good for her in the long run. Maybe someday, like my characters, she will have an opportunity to enter some kind of disgusting dessert-eating contest, and she will enter with confidence, knowing that she’s been training for this moment since she was a small child. I hope she enters. And I hope she wins. And I hope she uses some of that prize money to buy her mother a hot fudge sundae.


AUTHOR Bio and Links: 

Dana Hammer is a novelist, screenwriter and playwright. She has won over forty awards and honours for her writing, a few of which generated income, all of which were deeply appreciated. She is not a cannibal, but she is the author of A Cannibals Guide to Fasting. Dana is also the author of middle-grade fantasy My Best Friend Athena which was inspired by a desire to write something her 9-year-old daughter could read. 



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