All That's True

All That's True

4.0 5
by Jackie Lee Miles
     
 

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"My life was close to being perfect until my brother Alex got killed. Then my mother started drinking and my father started having sex with Donna, my best friend's stepmother. She's not even thirty years old."


With an equal mix of joy and sorrow, All That's True follows Andi's poignant-and sometimes laugh out loud-journey to

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Overview

"My life was close to being perfect until my brother Alex got killed. Then my mother started drinking and my father started having sex with Donna, my best friend's stepmother. She's not even thirty years old."


With an equal mix of joy and sorrow, All That's True follows Andi's poignant-and sometimes laugh out loud-journey to young adulthood, where she struggles with the elusive nature of truth and the devastating consequences of deception.


"Jackie Lee Miles is a wise and perceptive writer with a keen understanding of human frailties."-Julie Cannon, author of Truelove and Homegrown Tomatoes


"Perfect in voice and detail, chock full of girl talk and seat-of-the pants crises, Miles' book is a winner." -Rosemary Daniell, award-winning author of Secrets of the Zona Rosa: How Writing (and Sisterhood) Can Change Women's Lives


"Miles is a fascinating new voice in Southern fiction. Readers will rejoice." -Karin Gillespie, author of Bet Your Bottom Dollar


"For those of us looking for relationships that feel authentic, you will find them in this novel!" -Edward Mooney, Jr. author of The Pearls of the Stone Man

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A precocious Southern girl has an uneasy coming-of-age in Miles's by-the-numbers newest (after Cold Rock River). After Andi's older brother dies in a fraternity hazing accident, her mother hits the bottle and her father starts sleeping with her best friend's stepmother. Andi, meanwhile, goes through the routine adolescent gauntlet of heartache, struggles with peer pressure, and learning a little about herself and her place in a difficult world. Miles does a credible job of capturing Andi's adolescent voice and weaving in dilemmas and issues with a light touch, and even if the plot goes right where you expect it to and the supporting cast is a bit on the bland side, it covers the coming-of-age bases with ease. (Jan.)
From the Publisher
"All That's True captures the trauma of a teen girl's life and is sure to attract an enthusiastic readership" - Booklist

"Jackie Lee Miles tells a poignant and often hilarious tale of adult foibles as seen through the eyes of a young teen." - Patricia Sprinkle, author of Hold Up the Sky

"Miles is a fascinating new voice in Southern fiction. Readers will rejoice." - Karin Gillespie, author of Bet Your Bottom Dollar

"Perfect in voice and detail, chock full of girl talk and seat-of-the-pants crises, Miles's book is a winner." - Rosemary Daniell, award-winning author of Secrets of the Zona Rosa: How Writing (and Sisterhood) Can Change Women's Lives

"Jackie Lee Miles is a wise and perceptive writer with a keen understanding of human frailties." - ulie Cannon, author of Truelove and Homegrown Tomatoes

"All That's True is a genuine southern-style page turner. What makes this book shine is the authentic voice of its young narrator, a winning and warm-hearted girl on the verge of womanhood learning what it means to be human." - Joshilyn Jackson NYT Bestselling author of BACKSEAT SAINTS

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781402261480
Publisher:
Sourcebooks, Incorporated
Publication date:
01/01/2011
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
1,094,687
File size:
1 MB

Read an Excerpt

From Chapter One

My life was close to being perfect until my brother Alex got killed. Then my mother started drinking and my father starting having sex with Donna, my best friend's stepmother. She's not even thirty years old. Me and Bridget-that's my best friend-we saw them through the window of the pool house and nearly stopped breathing. You would not believe the moaning. For a life that was moving along really well, right now everything sucks.

We haven't told anyone, yet. We still can't believe it ourselves. Besides, we're not sure who to tell: her father, or my mother, or maybe a priest. It's complicated. For now, we're just watching them boff each other. It's disgusting, sure, but we can't seem to help ourselves. Now that we know what they're doing, we camp out in the bushes behind the cabana that's behind Bridget's house and just wait for them to show up. Mostly they do the same things to each other, over and over, but we watch like it's the very first time.

Mondays are good. They're always there Mondays. And Wednesdays, they never miss Wednesdays. My mother's at her bridge game and Bridget's father's at church. He's a deacon. And sometimes on Friday nights they're at it, but not tonight; tonight's my mother's fiftieth birthday party and our house is so lit up it looks like it's on fire.

"It's a significant occasion," my father says, sounding and acting perfectly normal-like nothing out of the usual is going on-and he's screwing Donna like he's a sex machine, and he's over fifty, which makes it like a miracle. I didn't know men could even do it that old.

He reminds my sister Beth and me, for the umpteenth time, to make my mother's birthday a joyous occasion, his exact words. So, he still must love her, or he wouldn't care, right?

"Regardless of the circumstances," he says, meaning Alex is dead, but I'm thinking of him and Donna and those circumstances, and grunt, "Humph."

My sister Beth nods politely and assures him we will, then turns and bugs her eyes out at me, which is her way of telling me I should nod, too, right now. I'm sick of her being older and wiser, not to mention bossy. She's getting married this year after she graduates from Vassar and is on the dean's list, so she thinks she's hot stuff. I'm flunking algebra, so I'm on everyone's list, except my mother's. She loves me more than God.

Beth is still eyeballing me. I pretend I'm catatonic. My father stands and waits patiently; he's familiar with and respectful of Beth's signal system. He calls her Elizabeth and says her name like it's a prayer. That makes me want to hate her, but mostly I'm not able; it's in the blood or something not to, but sometimes I think I do anyway, so maybe I have bad blood.

Beth tucks her arms across her chest and glares at me. My father has his hand wrapped around her shoulder. They're staring and waiting. Their expressions are obvious. They think I'm going to ruin the party. I stare back, my face a blank sheet of paper, but really it has invisible ink that says, "What?-Do I look like an idiot?"

The guests are arriving now-two-by-two-and I'm thinking Noah's Ark, and with our luck a flood will follow. Vivian's here. That's my mother's best friend from before I was born. "And were you a surprise!" she joked, when I stayed with her once, which turns out isn't a joke. I was a big surprise, my mother said. Vivian always smells like she's just come from the hairdresser. "I have!" she says, and laughs. "With hair like this, I live there."

She hugs my shoulder and walks with me snug at her side like we're glued together. "What do you say we crash this party, sweetie? Show these fools how it's done."

Her husband Howard is pouring my mother another glass of wine, and my father smiles like that's fine, but it's really not. Tonight he'll pretend it is, but normally when my mother's on her third glass he shakes his head and makes a face like there's a skunk in the room. And this might be her fourth; I lost count. Now I'm back to paying attention. I get afraid for my mother. She drinks too much and slurs her words, and she hugs people too hard, and my father points it all out the next morning, even if Rosa's there clearing the dishes. I want to tell him, "There are worse things, you know-you don't hug at all. And you're screwing Donna! And you're hardly ever home."

When he is, Desert Storm and my mother's drinking are his favorite topics. He says George-Herbert-Walker-read-my-lips Bush, Sr., needs to get rid of Saddam Hussein now or there'll be all hell to pay later, and then he tells my mother she's disgusting.

"Absolutely disgusting, Margaret," he says, and I want to spill my guts.

My mother sits quietly and nods her head, "I know, I know," all the while my father is berating her. If she only knew what I know...and I almost blurt it out, but it would hurt her so bad, so, of course, I don't. I sit quietly and watch her, like I'm the babysitter. She's still so beautiful to look at. Like Barbie with some grey in her hair, and maybe a few extra pounds, but not many. My mother doesn't eat much, but when she does, it's all the right foods.

For tonight, my parents are all smiles. The kind you paint on. I don't blame them. It's all any of us can muster, seeing as Alex is dead, and it's only been two months, hardly any time at all, and it feels like last night the police knocked on the door to tell us, and no one answered, so they pounded on the door; it was the middle of the night-what did they think?

And they had their blue lights flashing in the driveway, scaring half the neighborhood awake. A nightmare, that's what I was thinking, but even then, I could tell it was real. My mother was screaming like a serial killer had hold of her, throwing herself against the marble columns in the front entrance hall. My father grabbed hold of her and held her so tight I thought he'd bruise her worse, but I've never seen him so tender to her in my entire life-and thirteen years, two months, and eight days is a long time, any reasonable person can agree.

Alex was my most favorite person in the entire world, next to my mother, who is next to my best friend Bridget, who's next to no one; she's like my salvation, but that's another story. Alex liked me better than Beth. He told me once he found her shallow. I was nine at the time and hardly knew the meaning of the word, but what did it matter? It sounded perfectly wretched, but more important he insisted I was not, capital, N-O-T-nor ever would be, shallow. It was a sacred moment. I asked him if we could prick our fingers and join our blood. He laughed and said, "It's already joined, you nut," and made like he was tossing me a football.

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