Book Highlight: Exit Wounds - Annie O'Neill Stein
Born to shanty Irish on one side and Park Avenue privilege on the other, Laura navigates a turbulent childhood filled with the alcohol-fueled abuse of her volatile father and her mother’s excessive drinking. As the middle child of three girls, she assigns herself the role of her mother’s protector, who dies when Laura is thirteen, leaving her heartbroken and adrift.
Insecure, anxious, and fearful, she tries drugs, random sex, and a sequence of lovers. Along the way, she becomes a successful painter and has a bad first marriage. Nothing, however, seems to assuage her emptiness and her sense of loss. Eventually, she marries a caring man and has a loving daughter. It is only at the end of her life, and by way of an unusual and unexpected turn of events that she is finally able to make peace with herself, to let go of the feeling that she never really grieved, and said goodbye to her beloved mother, and to appreciate that though we work at love and acceptance, sometimes the most wonderful experiences in our lives come in unanticipated and unsought ways.
Exit Wounds is a coming-of-age story that extends beyond teen years. Young readers in search of a realistic story will appreciate the unflinching tale full of brutal honesty and dark humor. A tale of a girl fighting for more than just survival--a girl fighting to be happy and whole.
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