A Dazzling Explosion of Dark Humor and Raw Emotion in Debut Novel by Beth Raymer ’08 

Carlos Barragán
June 02, 2023

Fireworks Every Night (Random House, 2023), a debut novel by Beth Raymer ’08, offers a poignant portrayal of a young woman struggling to navigate the tumultuous landscape of her family in 1990s South Florida. Framed within the stigmatized cultural backdrop of Florida, Raymer’s story shows the harsh realities beneath the surface, dispelling stereotypes through a compassionate examination of one family's survival amidst dysfunction and poverty. The book will be released on June 27, 2023.

The story’s protagonist, a twelve-year-old girl named C.C.—an acronym for Canadian Club whiskey, her father’s favorite drink—provides a candid narration of her challenging circumstances. Surrounded by a distant mother,a sister teetering on the edge of drug addiction, and a grifter of a father who makes a living by burning down his dealership for insurance money in Southern Ohio, C.C.’s narrative oscillates between pain and comedy, illustrating the resilience and ingenuity necessary to navigate such an environment.

Beyond the vibrant characters and engaging narrative, Fireworks Every Night is also a testament to Raymer’s storytelling skills. “I read Raymer’s novel in a state of giddy awe, like watching someone launching bottle rockets in the dark at close range and exploding in laughter, a dangerous shower of sparks illuminating a deeply dysfunctional family cruising towards disaster in a brand-new car,” said former Adjunct Associate Professor Elissa Schappell, author of Blueprints for Building Better Girls

Beth Raymer is the author of Lay the Favorite: A Memoir of Gambling (Spiegel & Grau, 2010). The film adaptation of Lay the Favorite, starring Rebecca Hall, Bruce Willis, and Catherine Zeta-Jones, premiered at the 2012 Sundance festival. She received an MFA from Columbia University and was awarded a Fulbright scholarship. Her journalism has been published in The Atlantic and The New York Times Magazine.