Offsides

( 1 )

Overview

"A tremendously funny and touching book. I really loved it." -Diane Keaton

Kerry Madden-Lunsford's fresh, often hilarious, debut novel presents a bittersweet and unforgettable tale of adolescence. On the surface, the Donegals seem the picture-perfect norm of a nuclear family in the 1970s. But seen through the eyes of Liz Donegal, her world teeters on the brink of disintegration. Liz's father, an assistant college football coach, uproots his family annually with the motivational compassion of "Get your ass in the ...

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Overview

"A tremendously funny and touching book. I really loved it." -Diane Keaton

Kerry Madden-Lunsford's fresh, often hilarious, debut novel presents a bittersweet and unforgettable tale of adolescence. On the surface, the Donegals seem the picture-perfect norm of a nuclear family in the 1970s. But seen through the eyes of Liz Donegal, her world teeters on the brink of disintegration. Liz's father, an assistant college football coach, uproots his family annually with the motivational compassion of "Get your ass in the car." Her brothers Joe-Sam and Leo, whose first words are "hut, hut, hike," and sister, Peaches, a wannabe cheerleader, pick apart their lives and tentatively pull together in whatever town they land in, whether it's Bobcat Country or Shark Territory. While chaos reigns within the Donegal household, outside the family dog Halfback is busy digging up his predecessor Bear Bryant. At the center of this remarkable cast of characters, Liz creates a world for herself spun out of best friends, books, secret glimpses at sex manuals, and a few adults who actually understand what it means to grow up "offsides." Fostered by the creativity of her aunt Betty and uncle Peter, Liz first glimpses life beyond football games and Catholic school. When she isn't busy rebelling, singing Lou Reed songs, or transforming herself into Helen Keller or Anne Frank, Liz is falling in love, discovering herself, and learning that life also has some painful lessons.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Madden-Lunsford scores some early points with her clever, quirky use of sports jargon and metaphors in her coming-of-age first novel, but ultimately the situations she explores are so familiar that burly clichs eventually sack some graceful, lively writing. Narrator Liz Donegal, the oldest daughter of a college football coach, resents her father's hard-driving ways as well as the itinerant lifestyle he imposes on his family. A narrative pattern quickly emerges: Liz lands in a new college town, struggles to make friends, edges toward various forms of self-discovery and, ultimately, becomes heartbroken when Dad switches jobs and she must move again, leaving her friends behind. Despite the inherent tedium of this structure, there are occasional flashes of humor and eloquence, most notably in the family-oriented dialogue and the characterizations of Liz's mother and father, the former once a college beauty queen and the latter a surprisingly compassionate foil despite his type-A shortcomings. Equally poignant are the sections dealing with Liz's relationship with a gay uncle, her discovery that her favorite aunt has been institutionalized without her knowledge and the obligatory but well-told first-boyfriend chapters. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Growing up the oldest daughter of a football coach in a Catholic family is not easy. Liz Donegal's father is constantly on the road and expects full support of his football activities. When his team has a bad season, he simply moves on and expects his wife and children to adjust to their new environs. Awkward and ill at ease with herself, Liz invariably suffers from these transitions (eight of them before she graduates from high school). Fortunately, she has an extraordinary aunt and uncle who offer unconditional love and reach out to make her feel special at a critical juncture of her life. By the novel's end, she experiences a series of firsts, including a best friend and a boyfriend. After a long struggle with self-acceptance, Liz learns the answer is in "remembering who you are and claiming it." An impressive debut; recommended.Kimberly G. Allen, networkMCI Lib., Washington, D.C.
Kirkus Reviews
An amiable first novel that portrays the slow and reluctant coming of age of the tomboy daughter of a college football coach.

Elizabeth Donegal carries all of the usual burdens that afflict the young and the insecure, plus one: She knows more about football than most of the boys and all of the girls in her class. That's because Liz's Daddy is an assistant coach and her life revolves around the football season of whatever college town they happen to be living in at the moment. "Peace was not a high priority in a football family," according to Liz, who found out the hard way. Nearly every year, after all, the Donegals moved to a new town in the hope that Daddy could work his way up to Head Coach, and, as a result, a life lived out of suitcases and in motels and boys' dorms has left the Donegal children with only the vaguest conception (and no firsthand experience) of what most of their peers consider normal homes and family life. Religion provides some continuity for Liz (despite her early premonitions that she might be a feminist or lesbian), and she spends more and more of her spare time in Catholic circles. There, she meets her two first loves: Peter, an artistic loner who commits suicide during his freshman year at Notre Dame, and Robert, who can't seem to decide whether or not he wants to enter a seminary. Although the usual adolescent traumas that Liz suffers are far from lighthearted, there is surprisingly little anger in her telling of them, and her story as a whole is refreshingly free of the self- pity that trips up so many young novelists their first time out. The climax of the tale is as understated as its narration, and manages to be both credible and pungent.

Pleasant, winning, and unpretentious.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780996040860
  • Publisher: Foreverland Press
  • Publication date: 8/27/2014
  • Pages: 530
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 1.07 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 18, 2000

    therapist

    kerry madden-lunsford served as my teacher for two weeks this past summer in the mountains of sewanee, tennessee. she also took on the roles of therapist and constant listening ear. her encouragement made me believe in my writing, and most importantly in myself. and i am forever in her debt due to the help she gave me. my quest for self-discovery and happiness would have been much more complicated and painful without kerry's assistance. THANK YOU, KERRY! oh. and others, READ THIS BOOK!

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