As Cool As I Am (Movie Tie-in Edition): A Novel

( 8 )

Overview

NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE STARRING CLAIRE DANES, JAMES MARSDEN AND SARAH BOLGER

Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Book of the Year

As a teenager pretty much left to raise herself while her parents struggle to do the same, Lucy Diamond is a narrator with a radiant yet guarded heart. As she races at breakneck speed toward womanhood, everything is at stake for her, producing an urgency and dread that she holds at bay with humor and ...

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As Cool As I Am: A Novel

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Overview

NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE STARRING CLAIRE DANES, JAMES MARSDEN AND SARAH BOLGER

Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Book of the Year

As a teenager pretty much left to raise herself while her parents struggle to do the same, Lucy Diamond is a narrator with a radiant yet guarded heart. As she races at breakneck speed toward womanhood, everything is at stake for her, producing an urgency and dread that she holds at bay with humor and grace. But, while Lucy charges ahead, her mother’s youth is fading, providing juxtaposition steeped with tension and love. Simultaneously embracing and resisting their similarities, Pete Fromm's As Cool As I Am reveals both women’s emotional vulnerabilities and their deep need for each other. Conveyed through dialogue that is both laugh-aloud funny and true, Lucy’s character will stand out in the canon of contemporary literature for her large heart and inimitable grit.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“One of the more startling, beautiful, and evocative tales of young womanhood.”—Ron Franscell, San Francisco Chronicle

“Pete Fromm is one of America’s best-kept literary secrets.”—Thom Jones

“Deceptively simple and so artfully constructed it takes you someplace far deeper than you expected....A novel of great drive and soul.”—Carlo Wolff, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“This novel packs an emotional punch that sneaks up from behind….Fromm creates an engrossing coming-of-age saga that cuts to the essence and shines.”—The Seattle Times

“I used to think no one was cooler than me, until I read As Cool As I Am by Pete Fromm. I was humbled to mere mediocrity after meeting 14-year-old Lucy Diamond, a girl torn between growing up and hanging on to simpler days, when her breasts were nonexistent and her hormones hibernating. Over two years, we watch her conquer unknown territory—boys, love and sex—all the while dealing with a mom who's regressing to her teen years and a dad whose absences wreak emotional havoc on the family. Lucy's not cool in the sense that she wears all the right clothes; she's cool because she bravely faces hardships with honesty and aplomb. What could be cooler than that?”—Elle Girl

“This well-written and moving novel explores with sympathy and grace the sexual coming-of-age of a young woman who—as spunky and brave and foolish and foolhardy as she is—will remind some people of…Scout Finch in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird.”—Nancy Pearl on KUOW Public Radio’s "The Beat"

“[As Cool As I Am] is more than just a convincing portrait of a precocious Great Falls teen, all of it delivered in Lucy’s first-person voice over two eventful years. Fromm’s characters and imagery are so vivid that the book teems with life. Lucy, with her sharp wit and defiant buzz cut, seems like a fully formed character from the novel’s first pages, like a real girl who tripped and fell into Fromm’s typewriter.”—Katie Millbauer, Seattle Weekly

“Fromm’s story is infused with cold, isolated settings and lonely, dysfunctional families. Lucy’s first-person narrative burns a scary, painful trail through it all.”—The Oregonian

“Spirited and sharply intelligent....All the characters come alive, their stiletto tongues alternately wounding and caressing....The emotions Fromm plumbs are painfully, poignantly real.”—Publishers Weekly

“Nicely drawn characters and [a] sharp bitter edge.”—Kirkus Reviews

“It feels kind of ridiculous to shove Pete Fromm into the dreaded category of overlooked writers. Fromm has won the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award an unprecedented four times....Altogether, he's published eight books....Yet, outside of the Northwest Passage and his home state of Montana, he's not a household name....[As Cool As I Am] provides a vivid portrait of the confusion and longing of a teenager. Fromm has hit his novelistic stride; here’s hoping that he’ll find a wider audience soon.”—Readerville.com

As Cool As I Am takes me back to growing up in north-central Montana and the time warp that is Great Falls. I've walked around those neighborhoods, and I knew those kids, Lucy and Kenny. Screwed up, bored, rebellious, and full of hormones. Pete just flat out nails it. Montana's great Teenage Wasteland.”—Jeff Ament, Pearl Jam

As Cool As I Am is a story so rich and deep and real that it lingers like a memory long after the last page is turned. Pete Fromm has an amazing gift for creating characters we think we know.  You’ll not soon forget Lucy, the proud, tough Hi-Line teen who speaks this story. Her voice is haunting, her story is, by turns, starkly painful and outrageously funny. Weeks after finishing this book, I find myself thinking of her, wishing her well.”—Judy Blunt, author of Breaking Clean

“Pete Fromm writes with such quiet power, such honest authority, that by the end of this novel I felt I had experienced something inevitable, true and absolutely rare—something like an eclipse. I felt altered. As though I might never witness it again.”—Mark Spragg, author of The Fruit of Stone

From the Publisher
“One of the more startling, beautiful, and evocative tales of young womanhood.”—Ron Franscell, San Francisco Chronicle

“Pete Fromm is one of America’s best-kept literary secrets.”—Thom Jones

“Deceptively simple and so artfully constructed it takes you someplace far deeper than you expected....A novel of great drive and soul.”—Carlo Wolff, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“This novel packs an emotional punch that sneaks up from behind….Fromm creates an engrossing coming-of-age saga that cuts to the essence and shines.”—The Seattle Times

“I used to think no one was cooler than me, until I read As Cool As I Am by Pete Fromm. I was humbled to mere mediocrity after meeting 14-year-old Lucy Diamond, a girl torn between growing up and hanging on to simpler days, when her breasts were nonexistent and her hormones hibernating. Over two years, we watch her conquer unknown territory—boys, love and sex—all the while dealing with a mom who's regressing to her teen years and a dad whose absences wreak emotional havoc on the family. Lucy's not cool in the sense that she wears all the right clothes; she's cool because she bravely faces hardships with honesty and aplomb. What could be cooler than that?”—Elle Girl

“This well-written and moving novel explores with sympathy and grace the sexual coming-of-age of a young woman who—as spunky and brave and foolish and foolhardy as she is—will remind some people of…Scout Finch in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird.”—Nancy Pearl on KUOW Public Radio’s "The Beat"

“[As Cool As I Am] is more than just a convincing portrait of a precocious Great Falls teen, all of it delivered in Lucy’s first-person voice over two eventful years. Fromm’s characters and imagery are so vivid that the book teems with life. Lucy, with her sharp wit and defiant buzz cut, seems like a fully formed character from the novel’s first pages, like a real girl who tripped and fell into Fromm’s typewriter.”—Katie Millbauer, Seattle Weekly

“Fromm’s story is infused with cold, isolated settings and lonely, dysfunctional families. Lucy’s first-person narrative burns a scary, painful trail through it all.”—The Oregonian

“Spirited and sharply intelligent....All the characters come alive, their stiletto tongues alternately wounding and caressing....The emotions Fromm plumbs are painfully, poignantly real.”—Publishers Weekly

“Nicely drawn characters and [a] sharp bitter edge.”—Kirkus Reviews

“It feels kind of ridiculous to shove Pete Fromm into the dreaded category of overlooked writers. Fromm has won the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award an unprecedented four times....Altogether, he's published eight books....Yet, outside of the Northwest Passage and his home state of Montana, he's not a household name....[As Cool As I Am] provides a vivid portrait of the confusion and longing of a teenager. Fromm has hit his novelistic stride; here’s hoping that he’ll find a wider audience soon.”—Readerville.com

As Cool As I Am takes me back to growing up in north-central Montana and the time warp that is Great Falls. I've walked around those neighborhoods, and I knew those kids, Lucy and Kenny. Screwed up, bored, rebellious, and full of hormones. Pete just flat out nails it. Montana's great Teenage Wasteland.”—Jeff Ament, Pearl Jam

As Cool As I Am is a story so rich and deep and real that it lingers like a memory long after the last page is turned. Pete Fromm has an amazing gift for creating characters we think we know.  You’ll not soon forget Lucy, the proud, tough Hi-Line teen who speaks this story. Her voice is haunting, her story is, by turns, starkly painful and outrageously funny. Weeks after finishing this book, I find myself thinking of her, wishing her well.”—Judy Blunt, author of Breaking Clean

“Pete Fromm writes with such quiet power, such honest authority, that by the end of this novel I felt I had experienced something inevitable, true and absolutely rare—something like an eclipse. I felt altered. As though I might never witness it again.”—Mark Spragg, author of The Fruit of Stone

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781250045577
  • Publisher: Picador
  • Publication date: 6/18/2013
  • Edition description: Media Tie-In
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 1,389,772
  • Product dimensions: 5.47 (w) x 8.23 (h) x 0.73 (d)

Meet the Author

Pete Fromm's fiction and nonfiction have won the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association's Book of the Year award an impressive four times. His past works include Night Swimming, How All This Started, and Indian Creek Chronicles. He has also published more than 100 short stories, and is on the faculty of Pacific University’s MFA writing program. He lives in Montana with his wife and two sons.

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Read an Excerpt

ONE

Holding his truck door open was my job, dangling there waiting for him and Mom to get it over with. In winter, it was always dark, the reflection of the headlights all we had, the last-gasp reach of the porch bulb, exhaust fog thick and wreathy around us. It was summer now, the air heavy and green-smelling, the sun almost up over the Highwoods, the sky white with it, but he was still leaving.

When they finally came slinking out of the house, I was still hanging off the end of his door like some kind of ornament. Even though Mom was all laughy and leaning on him, her legs these lethal flashes through the slit of her midnight skirt, Dad was looking at me, his usual what-in-the-world-will-happen-to-us-next grin gone AWOL. He kind of barely smiled, sad almost, and I knew Mom had ratted me out.

He peeled himself away from her, and I caught the narrowing of her eyes, her turn toward the mountains, her sudden interest in the day's progress.

&'grave;Hey, Luce,'' Dad said, bending down eye to eye.

I kept ahold of his truck door and looked out toward the mountains, same as Mom.

He brushed his thumb and finger down the sides of my face, stopping at my chin, gently turning my head. &'grave;Why the sourpuss?''

I rolled my eyes.

Letting go of my chin, he gave the top of my buzz cut a rub, the fresh-chopped hair stiff and bristly against his hand. &'grave;Mame here says you want me to stay.''

I fired a razor-edged glance her way.

Dad waggled my head, making me look at him again. &'grave;This is what I do, Luce.''

&'grave;Leave?''

He nodded. &'grave;Sometimes. I mean, I got to put the bacon in the bank, don't I? But every time I leave, what does that mean?'' He waited, but I wouldn't say anything. &'grave;It means I come back, doesn't it? It means we get to have these great big partyland reunions.''

Our it-just-can't-be-beat-to-all-be-together gala events. &'grave;We could do that every day if you stayed,'' I said.

Dad stood up, rummaging in his pocket, pulling out a handful of change. He thumbed through the pennies in his palm, pushing aside a bunch of dull ones until he found a brand-new one, shiny as, well, a new penny. &'grave;See this here?'' he said, flipping the penny into the air with a flick of his thumbnail. &'grave;This is us, always new, always fresh, always fun.'' He caught the penny and held it out to me. &'grave;These others,'' he went on, riffling through the motley crowd of copper veterans, &'grave;never go anywhere, just stick around together all the time.'' He held them close to my ear. &'grave;Can you hear them? Yawning? Snoring? They haven't thought of a new thing to say to each other in years.''

I took the shiny penny from him.

&'grave;You keep that,'' he said. &'grave;Lock it up in your private drawer. See what happens.''

&'grave;Nobody's locking you up,'' I muttered.

&'grave;Ho ho,'' he laughed, rustling his hand over my head again. &'grave;Sharp as a bowling bowl, Mame, this kid of ours.''

I couldn't help a smile. &'grave;You go to Canada and all I get is this lousy penny?''

He reached for his wallet and shook it upside down. Two singles fell free, floating to the ground. I picked them up. Leaving for months, driving hundreds of miles, thousands, to a place nobody would ever study in any geography class, and he had two dollars.

&'grave;You've raised a holdup artist, Mame,'' he said. &'grave;The two of you should take up stagecoaches, banks.'' As I stood studying the worn-out bills, Dad lunged at me, sweeping me up under his arm, holding me to him desperate-tight. &'grave;Don't shoot!'' he yelled, &'grave;or the kid gets it!''

&'grave;Chuck,'' Mom said. Just the way she said his name, I could hear how I was too old to be swung around this way anymore. She's as tall as I am, for crying out loud. All the figure of a snake, but still.

Dad edged around to the passenger side of the truck, swinging the door open behind his back, turning to throw me in. Make his getaway.

I tightened my body into a torpedo, arms clamped to my sides, legs fused into a tail, not the least thing sticking out that might stop me outside that door. I had never in my whole life been as excited as at that one second, when I thought he might take me with him.

cf0But at the last possible instant, Dad swung me up and away. &'grave;It's a trap!'' he yelled. &'grave;She's wired! You thought you had me, didn't you?'' He charged at Mom and, without a word of warning, threw me at her, yelling, &'grave;You'll have to get up earlier than that to eat this worm!''

Mom, though she's not what anyone would on her worst day call big, didn't have any choice but to catch me. She staggered back, gasping, &'grave;Chuck!''

He was already there, catching us, wrapping us up in his arms, keeping anybody from hitting the ground. He rocked us back and forth, like when we slow-danced in the living room. He was breathing hard, and I felt that warm, wet air tickling against the top of my skull as he said, &'grave;What you got to remember, Luce, is the coming home. That's all that matters. This leaving is nothing. The time away is nothing. You just remember the coming home.''

He sounded like a hypnotist. A hopeful magician.

I squirmed, pancaked between the two of them. He didn't know all he thought he knew. He got to go, see everything out there, stuff we could only dream of. The whole time he was out there in the geography, we sat here, same as always. Waiting.

&'grave;I got to hit the dusty trail,'' he said, easing up on us, then squeezing in one last-second bear hug. &'grave;Hit it before it hits back.'' Then he let us go. He chucked me under the chin. &'grave;Remember that, Luce,'' he said. &'grave;Always throw the first punch.''

He grabbed the sides of Mom's face the way Pepe Le Pew goes after that cat, and he puckered up for a smooch. They did it that way for a second, like cartoons, but then softened up and glued together and got all squirming and mashy. Right in the street. Mom and Dad were the only parents in the world who kissed like that. It was gross but fun to watch.

I slipped up alongside Dad and shoved the two dollars into his back pocket. Still all vacuum-cleanered to Mom, he rubbed the top of my head. Then he was away from both of us, bounding into his truck. He fired the engine, revving it a couple of times. He stuck his arm out the window, but not his head, not looking back. Starting away, he yelled, &'grave;After a while, alligator!''

I chased him down the middle of the street, him watching in the mirror, going just fast enough that I stayed a foot or two behind the bumper no matter how hard I ran. &'grave;Later, crocodile!''

&'grave;Adios, amoebas!'' he called.

&'grave;See you, see you, wouldn't want to be you!''r He elbowed up his arm in a crisp ninety-degree, signaling right as he swung left at the corner, heading for the one-way. The two old dollar bills fluttered out into the street, and he accelerated, honking and waving and disappearing, leaving me gasping. Leaving me behind.

I stood alone in the middle of the street, hands on my knees, feeling each breath rasping in and out of my lungs until I heard Mom calling from in front of our house. &'grave;Lucy, get out of the street! You're stopping traffic.''

There was a car idling in front of me, Dr. Ivers up ungodly early for some reason. I reached down for Dad's money, then stepped aside. Dr. Ivers smiled and waved, driving away, too.

I turned and walked back to Mom. &'grave;You're the traffic stopper in this family,'' I muttered when I got close enough I didn't have to shout. I couldn't believe she'd told him what I'd said. A violation of our number one unspoken rule.

She put her arm around my shoulders. &'grave;Would you look at the two of us? All dressed up and no place to go.''

I was wearing a gray logoless sweatshirt, the sleeves cut off. Jeans. Running shoes.

She gave me a friendly shake. &'grave;Let's you and me go out and do up the town. Put on the Ritz.'' She started down the cracked driveway to our narrow, ancient garage, bending low and grunting as she reached to throw up the door. We skinnied around each side of our car, a sun-dulled blue Corvair Dad had found for us—-&'grave;Spell it! It's practically Corvette!''

Mom shoehorned herself in, and by the time I did the same on my side, she already had her visor down, checking herself in the mirror she had tacked up there with clothespins. She smacked her lips, puckering in between, then gave up, reaching into her purse for her lipstick. As she worked it expertly around, I copied her contortions with my own lips. &'grave;No doubt about it,'' she said, &'grave;that man kisses like a plunger.''

&'grave;Where are we going, Mom?'' I asked. Put on the Ritz? We lived in Great Falls, Montana, what Mom called the last stronghold of the 1950s. It wasn't quite six in the morning.

&'grave;Tracy's, maybe,'' Mom said. &'grave;They're twenty-four/seven.''

It was a tiny diner with a metal-plated jukebox on each table. The waitresses wore paper hats and smoked cigarettes they left curling smoke on the counter before bringing your food to the table.

0&'grave;Maybe we should change into something nicer,'' I said.

Mom grinned. &'grave;Swines before pearls,'' she said, and backed out of the dark garage, careful not to break off the side mirror again. &'grave;Order whatever you want,'' she called out, waving her arms. &'grave;Anything at all.'' Then, in a side whisper, she said, &'grave;You got his money, didn't you?''

&'grave;Every last red dime,'' I said, both of us already filling in for Dad, saying whatever we thought he might. &'grave;Gutted him like a wish.''

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First Chapter

ONE

Holding his truck door open was my job, dangling there waiting for him and Mom to get it over with. In winter, it was always dark, the reflection of the headlights all we had, the last-gasp reach of the porch bulb, exhaust fog thick and wreathy around us. It was summer now, the air heavy and green-smelling, the sun almost up over the Highwoods, the sky white with it, but he was still leaving.

When they finally came slinking out of the house, I was still hanging off the end of his door like some kind of ornament. Even though Mom was all laughy and leaning on him, her legs these lethal flashes through the slit of her midnight skirt, Dad was looking at me, his usual what-in-the-world-will-happen-to-us-next grin gone AWOL. He kind of barely smiled, sad almost, and I knew Mom had ratted me out.

He peeled himself away from her, and I caught the narrowing of her eyes, her turn toward the mountains, her sudden interest in the day's progress.

"Hey, Luce," Dad said, bending down eye to eye.

I kept ahold of his truck door and looked out toward the mountains, same as Mom.

He brushed his thumb and finger down the sides of my face, stopping at my chin, gently turning my head. "Why the sourpuss?"

I rolled my eyes.

Letting go of my chin, he gave the top of my buzz cut a rub, the fresh-chopped hair stiff and bristly against his hand. "Mame here says you want me to stay."

I fired a razor-edged glance her way.

Dad waggled my head, making me look at him again. "This is what I do, Luce."

"Leave?"

He nodded. "Sometimes. I mean, I got to put the bacon in the bank, don't I? But every time I leave, what does that mean?" He waited, but I wouldn't say anything. "It means I comeback, doesn't it? It means we get to have these great big partyland reunions."

Our it-just-can't-be-beat-to-all-be-together gala events. "We could do that every day if you stayed," I said.

Dad stood up, rummaging in his pocket, pulling out a handful of change. He thumbed through the pennies in his palm, pushing aside a bunch of dull ones until he found a brand-new one, shiny as, well, a new penny. "See this here?" he said, flipping the penny into the air with a flick of his thumbnail. "This is us, always new, always fresh, always fun." He caught the penny and held it out to me. "These others," he went on, riffling through the motley crowd of copper veterans, "never go anywhere, just stick around together all the time." He held them close to my ear. "Can you hear them? Yawning? Snoring? They haven't thought of a new thing to say to each other in years."

I took the shiny penny from him.

"You keep that," he said. "Lock it up in your private drawer. See what happens."

"Nobody's locking you up," I muttered.

"Ho ho," he laughed, rustling his hand over my head again. "Sharp as a bowling bowl, Mame, this kid of ours."

I couldn't help a smile. "You go to Canada and all I get is this lousy penny?"

He reached for his wallet and shook it upside down. Two singles fell free, floating to the ground. I picked them up. Leaving for months, driving hundreds of miles, thousands, to a place nobody would ever study in any geography class, and he had two dollars.

"You've raised a holdup artist, Mame," he said. "The two of you should take up stagecoaches, banks." As I stood studying the worn-out bills, Dad lunged at me, sweeping me up under his arm, holding me to him desperate-tight. "Don't shoot!" he yelled, "or the kid gets it!"

"Chuck," Mom said. Just the way she said his name, I could hear how I was too old to be swung around this way anymore. She's as tall as I am, for crying out loud. All the figure of a snake, but still.

Dad edged around to the passenger side of the truck, swinging the door open behind his back, turning to throw me in. Make his getaway.

I tightened my body into a torpedo, arms clamped to my sides, legs fused into a tail, not the least thing sticking out that might stop me outside that door. I had never in my whole life been as excited as at that one second, when I thought he might take me with him.

But at the last possible instant, Dad swung me up and away. "It's a trap!" he yelled. "She's wired! You thought you had me, didn't you?" He charged at Mom and, without a word of warning, threw me at her, yelling, "You'll have to get up earlier than that to eat this worm!"

Mom, though she's not what anyone would on her worst day call big, didn't have any choice but to catch me. She staggered back, gasping, "Chuck!"

He was already there, catching us, wrapping us up in his arms, keeping anybody from hitting the ground. He rocked us back and forth, like when we slow-danced in the living room. He was breathing hard, and I felt that warm, wet air tickling against the top of my skull as he said, "What you got to remember, Luce, is the coming home. That's all that matters. This leaving is nothing. The time away is nothing. You just remember the coming home."

He sounded like a hypnotist. A hopeful magician.

I squirmed, pancaked between the two of them. He didn't know all he thought he knew. He got to go, see everything out there, stuff we could only dream of. The whole time he was out there in the geography, we sat here, same as always. Waiting.

"I got to hit the dusty trail," he said, easing up on us, then squeezing in one last-second bear hug. "Hit it before it hits back." Then he let us go. He chucked me under the chin. "Remember that, Luce," he said. "Always throw the first punch."

He grabbed the sides of Mom's face the way Pepe Le Pew goes after that cat, and he puckered up for a smooch. They did it that way for a second, like cartoons, but then softened up and glued together and got all squirming and mashy. Right in the street. Mom and Dad were the only parents in the world who kissed like that. It was gross but fun to watch.

I slipped up alongside Dad and shoved the two dollars into his back pocket. Still all vacuum-cleanered to Mom, he rubbed the top of my head. Then he was away from both of us, bounding into his truck. He fired the engine, revving it a couple of times. He stuck his arm out the window, but not his head, not looking back. Starting away, he yelled, "After a while, alligator!"

I chased him down the middle of the street, him watching in the mirror, going just fast enough that I stayed a foot or two behind the bumper no matter how hard I ran. "Later, crocodile!"

"Adios, amoebas!" he called.

"See you, see you, wouldn't want to be you!"

He elbowed up his arm in a crisp ninety-degree, signaling right as he swung left at the corner, heading for the one-way. The two old dollar bills fluttered out into the street, and he accelerated, honking and waving and disappearing, leaving me gasping. Leaving me behind.

I stood alone in the middle of the street, hands on my knees, feeling each breath rasping in and out of my lungs until I heard Mom calling from in front of our house. "Lucy, get out of the street! You're stopping traffic."

There was a car idling in front of me, Dr. Ivers up ungodly early for some reason. I reached down for Dad's money, then stepped aside. Dr. Ivers smiled and waved, driving away, too.

I turned and walked back to Mom. "You're the traffic stopper in this family," I muttered when I got close enough I didn't have to shout. I couldn't believe she'd told him what I'd said. A violation of our number one unspoken rule.

She put her arm around my shoulders. "Would you look at the two of us? All dressed up and no place to go."

I was wearing a gray logoless sweatshirt, the sleeves cut off. Jeans. Running shoes.

She gave me a friendly shake. "Let's you and me go out and do up the town. Put on the Ritz." She started down the cracked driveway to our narrow, ancient garage, bending low and grunting as she reached to throw up the door. We skinnied around each side of our car, a sun-dulled blue Corvair Dad had found for us---"Spell it! It's practically Corvette!"

Mom shoehorned herself in, and by the time I did the same on my side, she already had her visor down, checking herself in the mirror she had tacked up there with clothespins. She smacked her lips, puckering in between, then gave up, reaching into her purse for her lipstick. As she worked it expertly around, I copied her contortions with my own lips. "No doubt about it," she said, "that man kisses like a plunger."

"Where are we going, Mom?" I asked. Put on the Ritz? We lived in Great Falls, Montana, what Mom called the last stronghold of the 1950s. It wasn't quite six in the morning.

"Tracy's, maybe," Mom said. "They're twenty-four/seven."

It was a tiny diner with a metal-plated jukebox on each table. The waitresses wore paper hats and smoked cigarettes they left curling smoke on the counter before bringing your food to the table.

"Maybe we should change into something nicer," I said.

Mom grinned. "Swines before pearls," she said, and backed out of the dark garage, careful not to break off the side mirror again. "Order whatever you want," she called out, waving her arms. "Anything at all." Then, in a side whisper, she said, "You got his money, didn't you?"

"Every last red dime," I said, both of us already filling in for Dad, saying whatever we thought he might. "Gutted him like a wish."

Read More Show Less

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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 22, 2010

    Highly Recommended - One of the best books I have read

    I read this book two years ago and fell in love with the bluntness of it. There is a lot of sex in this novel but I would recommend it to any girl who is 16. The ending make me a little mad but the rest of the book is amazing. Lucy Diamond has a compelling character that keeps you reading. Her relationship with her mother and father are interesting about how she develops as a girl. Please read this novel, you won't regret it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2014

    Tigerstar

    Hmmmm we might wanna concentrate on a one worded search ••tigerstar

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2014

    Crystalfur

    Ok

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 9, 2013

    One of my favorite books

    Reading this definitely helped me with growing up and getting through life. For sure one of the greatest stories of all time.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2004

    This story is excellent for teenage females.

    This story is really good, and I would recommend it to anyone who likes to read about a females life and her issues. Fromm's writing is very good, and he uses a lot of description which makes the story very interesting.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews

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