An Egg on Three Sticks

( 20 )

Overview

"You can't stop reading An Egg on Three Sticks once you start it. Three pages in, I was hooked." —Billie Letts, author of Where the Heart Is

"An Egg on Three Sticks, Jackie Moyer Fischer's absorbing first novel, is as genuine as the voice at its center. Abby, one of the most engaging young narrators since Elizabeth Berg's Katie in Durable Goods, tells her story with honesty, toughness, and a vulnerability that carries the reader along with a sense of suspense and deep emotional ...

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Overview

"You can't stop reading An Egg on Three Sticks once you start it. Three pages in, I was hooked." —Billie Letts, author of Where the Heart Is

"An Egg on Three Sticks, Jackie Moyer Fischer's absorbing first novel, is as genuine as the voice at its center. Abby, one of the most engaging young narrators since Elizabeth Berg's Katie in Durable Goods, tells her story with honesty, toughness, and a vulnerability that carries the reader along with a sense of suspense and deep emotional investment to its heartbreaking conclusion. In an impressive and rewarding writerly feat, Fischer manages to make Abby's story funny, entertaining, devastating, and redemptive, all at the same time."

—Stephanie Rosenfeld, author of What About the Love Part?

"Fischer's novel is a spare, unflinching picture of a nuclear family's disintegration. At the same time, it's a nostalgic ride through the goofy, vulnerable years of early adolescence, when stolen hallway kisses, forbidden pulp novels, and super-short miniskirts are of monumental importance." —Emily Jenkins, author of Mister Posterior and the Genius Child

"In prose both fresh and piercing, Fischer brings us so close to her narrator that we feel what it's like to be thirteen . . . and to be tormented by a potent mixture of love, anger, and guilt as you start to face the hard truths of the adult world. Abby's voice is unfaltering; its honesty and pure tone animates a story of immediate and affecting emotional power."

—Anitra Sheen, author of Things Unspoken

"An Egg on Three Sticks is a step into the bewildering world of adolescence. . . . Profound, fresh, funny, it will make you laugh as it breaks your heart."

—Tom Spanbauer, author of In the City of Shy Hunters

"The voice and flow of this funny, sad, life-loving work are so note-perfect that taking in An Egg on Three Sticks feels less like reading a novel than hanging out with its unforgettable teenage protagonist Abby Goodman as she lays it all out to you. Fischer's remarkable debut will keep you up at night whizzing through its pages, and will haunt and delight you long afterwards." —Fred Pfeil, author of White Guys and What They Tell You to Forget

"With her poetic writing and honest voice, Fischer has captured a twelve-year-old's description of her mother's breakdown. I'm very much looking forward to Fischer's next book." —Jasmine Paul, author of A Girl, in Parts

In the San Francisco Bay Area in the early 1970s, twelve-year-old Abby watches her mother fall apart and must take on the burden of holding her family together.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"In a risky but successful style, Fischer... illustrat[es] Abby's lack of breathing space as she strains to hold herself together and move from one moment to the next."

- Kirkus Reviews

"The author does a fine job of capturing Abby's point of view, from adolescent angst to denial then anger at her mother's-and family's-condition and finally all-out rebellion. And she does it in an interesting way."

- Children's Literature

Children's Literature
Abby is a teenager wannabe living during the early 1970's, a time of hula hoops, mini skirts, pedal pushers and TV dinners in aluminum trays. She hangs with her best friend, Poppy, puts up with her pesky little sister, Lisa, and looks forward to the day when she will be in high school. Oh, and one more thing: her family is disintegrating as a result of her mother's bizarre, suicidal behavior. The author does a fine job of capturing Abby's point of view, from adolescent angst to denial then anger at her mother's—and family's—condition and finally all-out rebellion. And she does it in an interesting way, which is with little punctuation not even quotation marks sometimes and lots of ands and you knows and eventually she or Abby have one long paragraph or stream of consciousness which would you know probably cause an adult reader or reviewer for that matter to come down with the kind of shakes you get when someone accidentally on purpose like scrapes her fingernail across a chalkboard kind of which a young adult reader would probably have little problem with you know what I mean. Even though the setting is decades past, the issues—friendship, loyalty, helplessness, anger, fear, rebellion, shoplifting, suicide, teenage sex and pregnancy are contemporary. One quirky problem: the title escapes me entirely and could even be a turn-off. But in Abby and Poppy's slang, the book is a pretty good "readamundo." 2003, Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press, Ages 13 up.
— Judy Crowder
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-Abby's mother is acting decidedly strange-skinny-dipping in the neighbor's pool at night, smashing bathroom mirrors, not taking care of herself or her family-but the teen is reluctant to discuss her concerns with her father. The woman's bizarre behavior escalates until, after an attempted suicide, she is institutionalized for an extended period. In her absence, the household rules begin to slip and Abby is confused as to what is expected of her. When her mother finally returns home, she is a different person and Abby desperately wants her "real" mother back. Now 14, Abby starts dating a boy of whom her mother doesn't approve, sneaks out at night to meet him, and has sex. Meanwhile, her mother commits suicide. Told from Abby's point of view, the book is written in almost a stream-of-consciousness style. There is little punctuation and it is sometimes difficult to tell the difference between her thoughts and her dialogue. The novel is set in the late 1960s or early 1970s, but the only way readers can tell that is by references to the Vietnam War and some of the music that's mentioned. This sad story is truly a tragedy, not only for the mother, but also for the rest of the family members who never discuss the problem, support one another, or seek help. It may be useful as a tool for counselors working with people in a similar situation or as material for discussion.-Nancy P. Reeder, Heathwood Hall Episcopal School, Columbia, SC Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Abby's life from 12 to 15 is tightly strung with immediacy as her mother slowly disintegrates. The family-homemaker Mom, typing-teacher Dad, younger sister Lisa-lives in a quiet California neighborhood during the Vietnam era. Mom lies down too often, and one day she smashes both bathroom mirrors. Her declining mental health leads to an intentional overdose of sleeping pills and a year away in a psychiatric hospital. When she returns, her smile and voice are unrecognizable. After a period of supposed stability, Mom tries again to kill herself, this time succeeding. In a risky but successful style, Fischer allows most of her paragraphs only one sentence before the next paragraph begins, illustrating Abby's lack of breathing space as she strains to hold herself together and move from one moment to the next. Abby "know[s] things no fifteen-year-old should know," but there are tiny bits of humor and human connection sprinkled throughout. (Fiction. YA)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312317751
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 5/1/2004
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 1,276,329
  • Lexile: 890L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.72 (d)

Meet the Author

Jackie Moyer Fischer grew up in Saratoga, California, and McMinnville, Oregon. She graduated from Oregon State University (English) and Lewis and Clark Northwestern School of Law (J.D). She now lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband and too many cats. She has made peace with the rain and now prefers it to sunshine.

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Read an Excerpt

Excerpt from An Egg on Three Sticks by Jackie Moyer Fischer. Copyright © 2004 by Jackie Moyer Fischer. Published by St. Martin's Press. All rights reserved.

Chapter 1

So I'm walking home from school by myself because it's Thursday which is my late day because of Girls' Glee Club after school which most other days I walk home with my best friend Poppy Cordesi who lives across the street and which her mom's divorced and no one knows where her dad is. I get to the top of our street which is a little hill and I look down on the ten houses, eleven if you count the Pierces' but they have their own private driveway which goes right out onto the highway. I look down at all the houses and they look normal as day but when I look at our house there's something different.

Not a big different, just a little different, almost like how toast smells a little different right before it burns.

I look at our dark brown house.

We have the only dark brown house on the street. Every other house is white or beige or pale green but ours is dark brown with red trim, whoever heard of that, plus the red is faded to icky pink and which I have one word for that: grossamundo.

Which is this sort of language Poppy and I made up but I'll get to that later.

I look at the dark brown and the icky pink, and something is not right. It's not just that our car is gone, which it is, and which it shouldn't be on a Thursday at four-fifteen. Everything looks weird, the sun and the sky and the clouds and it's too warm for April which by the way is my favorite month because I just had my thirteenth birthday last week so I am now officially a teenager which it's about time.

I walk down the hill and I tell myself I'm just making this up.

There's nothing wrong.ar

Except there's this thing in my stomach, this thing I get sometimes that I call the big clench only right now it's a little clench and I tell it to shut up, go away, there's nothing wrong.

I walk past the Sullivans' house, then past the five peach trees that belong to the Sullivans but we can pick peaches whenever we want because there's just Mr. and Mrs. Sullivan and they can't eat all those peaches by themselves and there are four of us, Mom and Dad and me and Lisa who's seven, but really it's more like three and a half people because Lisa is such a puny little thing and really more like three because Mom hasn't been eating much lately.

I get to our driveway and I stop and look at our front yard because even it looks weird.

The clench in my stomach gets clenchier but I tell it to shut up.

I tell myself it's just our plain old green lawn with the apricot tree and some flowers and six junipers along the fence, which Dad is threatening to take out the whole lawn and put in all junipers because he doesn't want to be a slave to that lawn anymore but then Mom always has to go lie down when he says that, but then she has to lie down a lot these days.

I get to our front walk and there's someone in our front window who is not Mom.

Which is weirdamundo.

Now I definitely have the big clench.

It's Mrs. Sierra in the window, Mrs. Sierra from next door who lives in a beige house with nothing but gravel for a driveway and who used to be a nurse with Mom in the olden days before Mom married Dad. Mrs. Sierra is this enormous woman with yellow skin who wears these tent dresses but is awfully, awfully nice, I mean you just have to like her because she's just so nice, plus you have to feel sorry for her because her son Jimmy is at this very moment over in Vietnam getting shot. I mean shot at.

Mrs. Sierra sees me and opens our icky pink front door and her little black eyes look at me all serious and concerned, and her forehead goes into a deep V and she says, Oh Abby, and her voice is so low and sad that the big clench in my stomach is turning into a very big clench.

16

Because even though I'm pretending to myself that I don't know what's going on, I really do.

No doubt about it.

I know.

I walk in and I say, Where's Mom?

Like I don't know.

Mrs. Sierra puts her big yellow arm around me and squeezes real tight and now I know for sure that something is wrong because it's one of those kinds of arm-hugs, the kind where there's something really, really wrong.

So now I know for sure, that thing I knew at the top of the hill.

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Reading Group Guide

Finally Abby is thirteen. A real teenager who only wants to pierce her ears, have a boyfriend, and run her own life. But when her mother suffers a nervous breakdown, Abby faces a life far different from what she hoped for. Set in the Bay Area in the '70s, An Egg on Three Sticks is Jackie Moyer Fischer's emotional, funny, and extraordinarily heartfelt novel about Abby's struggle to hold her family together, find love from a mother who has little to give, and simply try to be thirteen.

With a voice completely fresh and honest, Abby takes us on a journey that is often hilarious, sometimes heartbreaking, and overwhelmingly hopeful. But a journey no thirteen-year-old should have to take.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 20 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 20 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2004

    The perfect book for a summer night

    I couldn't sleep so I decided to just take a peek at the first few pages of this book, hoping that would tire me out. Instead, I finished the last page as the sun came up. My 15-year-old daughter grabbed it as soon as she woke up and did not put it down until she had finished. We agreed that Abby's voice was perfect and the writing was excellent. Although the story was heart-wrenching, Abby's unique terminology and perspective provided humor to balance the angst. We're looking forward to the author's next book!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2010

    Egg on Three Sticks

    I thought this book had a very interesting turnout. It must be heart wrenching to be in Abby's position, considering her mother was the one holding order and maintenance within the family. Very original writing style and it is interesting to watch Abby grow up and fall in love. A great book for book clubs.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2007

    Couldn't put it down!!

    I loved this book. I have read a lot of books and this book was so different from any book I have read before.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2006

    A Deep Novel

    Whoa! This book was so deep! I truely felt that I was Abbey. JMF was great portraying Abbey, a girl from the 70s dealing with a mentally instable mom, a busy dad, and all together dealing with growing up with somewhat overprotective families, and the pressure to fit in, as well as teenage rebellion. It also does a great job showing the bond of friendship. It was a good read, and kept me hanging until the end.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2006

    One of the best!

    OMG!!! I love this book!! I got it from a friend and i couldn't put it down! I read it in 5 days! I read it right before I went to bed and didn't want to sleep because it was sooo good!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 26, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I read this book in one sitting- impossible to put down once you

    I read this book in one sitting- impossible to put down once you start!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2006

    i loved this awsome book!!

    i loved this book!! it kept me reading for hours!! i didnt think i would like this book very much but i decided to take a peek at it. i took it on vacation, bringing otherr books just in case i didnt like this one. thing is, i never got to those other books! i read this one in 3 nights and then started over again!! i ended up reading it 3 times! i loved how much she made me feel like i was part of the family. she talked like i was there and i got the feelings like she would, i felt as if i was HER. i was s0o0o0o stunned by the feeling she put into her writing and how much looing into it the auther must have done to get me to think so highly of it. i loved how she used curse words just like someone in her position would do. so over-all i have to say i ABSILUTLY LOVED AN EGG ON THREE STICKS!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2005

    WOW!!!

    Fantastic read...humorous, thought provoking, a tough act to follow. Current read pales in comparison. Kudos!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2004

    I couldn't put this book down!

    Wow, I loved it. The evolution of the language was subtle and addictive, when I wasn't reading the book I was thinking in Abby's language - weirdamundo! The richness of the characters allowed me to parallel my own adolesence and the importance/influence of adults in my own perceived secret world. A wonderful reading experience that concluded with a dramatic and satisfying apex.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2004

    A miracle! My whole discussion group raved!!!

    For the first time ever, everyone in my group finished a book. And everyone totally LOVED it. That¿s never happened before. The voice blew us away. All the praise on the book¿s cover is true ¿ fresh, funny, sad, hopeful, moving, etc. It¿d make a great movie ¿ though it'd take someone great live up to my vision of Abby.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2004

    A Must Read!

    From page one, An Egg on Three Sticks, swept me back into the world of adolescence. I relived the heartache, the emotion of desperately wanting to fit in, and the importance of a friend¿especially when life is difficult at home. Through it all, I alternated between laughing and crying as Abby¿s story unfolds. Highly recommended!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2004

    Unforgettable

    A very well written book. It touches your heart and it keeps you deeply involved emotionally with Abby, You enjoy her humor and you cry with her pain. She is unforgettable. You don't lay this book down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2004

    Couldn't put it down

    I love nothing better than getting lost in a book. This one fit the bill. It reminds me of Lovely Bones only not so gruesome. I was grabbed in the first page and resented any intrusion until I was done. The author successfully made me identify with the main character who is an early teen. I can not wait until her next book. This would be a good book for a book club read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2004

    An emotional whirlwind!

    Thought provoking...funny...heartbreaking..An Egg On Three Sticks took me away into the teenage life of Abby...Jackie Fischer tells a story that is honest and sad...but also brings hope and a smile...and many laughs through teenage eyes... strong and powerful...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2004

    More eggs, please

    'An Egg on Three Sticks' is so delicious that I must read it aloud in order to consume it properly. This book will make an excellent gift, especially for those who experienced their youth in the late 1960s and early 1970s. However, I recommend it for any age, as it is timeless.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2004

    Great voice!

    Jackie Moyer Fischer really captures the essence of a teenage girl in this compelling story of a family collapsing. Told in first person, as seen through main character Abby's eyes, this book seems completely true and is thoroughly satisfying.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2004

    Fiction hits home

    Loved it! Read Abby's story and learn about life (again) from a teenager's perspective. She is fiery, smart and innocent all at the same time. And all she wants is to have her mother available - if even to say, 'No, you can't wear that miniskirt!' The author has created a fresh voice and you won't want to stop reading. I highly recommend this for women aged 16-late 40s. Enjoy!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2004

    BLOWN AWAY!

    I was blown away by Fischer's compelling writing style. It's terse, it's raw, it's in-your-face. It's punches in the belly. Once you get started, Egg on Three Sticks is hard to put down. Fischer's use of metaphoric language is impeccable. It's much more than Abby's coming of age story. Egg is all about relationships -- whether it's between teen friends (when one just seems to have a 'perfect' life), sisters, or mothers and daughters. You ache for Abby, you root for Abby, you feel deeply for her (haven't we all wished that we were as cool as our best friend?). I can't wait until I'm old enough to share this with my preschool daughters.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 15, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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