Pacific Avenue

Pacific Avenue

4.0 2
by Anne L. Watson

Where do you go from the end of the line? This is the question facing Kathy Woodbridge as she steps off the bus in the port city of San Pedro, California. Nineteen years old, from Louisiana, she is running away from her past. There's a lot to run away from.

What do you do when there's no one to do for? That's what Lacey Greer wants to know, with

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Where do you go from the end of the line? This is the question facing Kathy Woodbridge as she steps off the bus in the port city of San Pedro, California. Nineteen years old, from Louisiana, she is running away from her past. There's a lot to run away from.

What do you do when there's no one to do for? That's what Lacey Greer wants to know, with her only child off at college. When Kathy gets a job at the office where Lacey works, she can tell that Kathy's in trouble. Lacey's husband advises her to stay out of it--but what's she supposed to do, buy a rocking chair?

Set in San Pedro, Baton Rouge, and New Orleans in the early seventies, Pacific Avenue explores themes of love, belonging, helpfulness, hope, forgiveness, reconciliation, interracial marriage, and healing from the trauma of war. At the end of the line, will Kathy find a way to return home?



I chose a window seat on the Greyhound, but I didn't look out. For almost the whole trip, I stared at the rough tan upholstery of the seat in front of me. It had a rip on one side and three dark stains.

A woman settled into the aisle seat. She raised her footrest, but it clunked back down. When I glanced her way, she caught my eye and smiled.

"How do you make these things stay put?" she asked.

I meant to answer -- the words were lined up in my mind. But before I could say them, they slipped apart like beads when the string breaks. I gave up and studied the seat cover again. Still tan, still ripped, still stained. The next time I looked, the woman was gone.

Evening came, but I didn't use my reading light. Late at night, awake in the breathing dark, I imagined running my fingers over the seat back, erasing the stains, mending the seam. In the morning, I almost believed I could fix it. So, I took care not to touch it, not to find out for sure.

In the afternoon, the bus left the freeway and crept through downtown traffic. I turned then, and peered through the mud-spattered window. As far as I could see, Los Angeles was a city of warehouses. I sank back into my seat.

When we reached the station, I claimed my suitcase and dragged it through the waiting room to the street. Outside I found blank walls and empty sidewalks. No direction and no one to ask.

Well, I ran away from college, then from New Orleans, and then Baton Rouge. Is it too soon to run away from here?

The traffic light at the end of the block turned green, and cars passed me by. When a city bus stopped and opened its doors, I climbed on. I couldn't think what else to do.

I paid the fare and took a seat near the front. Even though I pulled my suitcase aside, it poked out into the aisle. More people piled on at every stop, and all of them had to squeeze past it. I expected everyone to glare, but nobody gave me a second glance.

The bus started, stopped, started again. We passed through neighborhoods with trees and shops. The crowd thinned as passengers got off, going home. Should I get off too? No, not here. Where? Next stop, no, the one after. No, not that one. Every stop would be a whole different life, a different second chance.

Choose, choose. I couldn't. I rode till the bus pulled over and parked.

"Seventh and Pacific, San Pedro, Port of Los Angeles," called the bus driver. He turned to me and added, "End of the line, Miss."

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Product Details

Shepard Publications
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.73(d)

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Pacific Avenue 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
CharBrown More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book. Touches on racism and PTSD before that term was coined.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I found this book to be captivating. Pacific Avenue is so raw in its emotions, it was as if the author was writing her own story. I had to keep reminding my self this was a piece of fiction. It is not a predictable story in any way. Each new page captures you and leads you to the next. I had to keep reminding myself this was a fiction. It is not a predictable story in anyway. Each new page capture you and leads you to the next page. This book has some scarred figures and will take you on an emotional ride. Richard, the young African American college student, just back from Viet Nam. He is estranged from his family, and his nights are filled with the horrors he experience during the war. Even during the days he is haunted. Kathy, is a young white college student whom her mother never liked. Kathy never could measure up to her mother's standards. She was taught that it did not matter what th color of a person's skin was. She begins a relationship with Richard and invites him to dinner at her parents house. Her mother did not seem pleased, but her father accepted him. To her mother racism becomes prevalent. They continue to date and eventually become lovers. Kathy invites Richard to share in her family Thanksgiing dinner. Everything was fine until Richard hears a loud crash from the window shutters. He automatically dives under the dinner table,the food that was there falls to to the floor as well. Kathy's mother is appaled by his behavior. While Richard is trying to clean up his clothes, it is her sister's finance Sam, that comes to Richards defense, and tris to make family members understand Richard's behavior. This book shows us the dynamics of a generation that is just beginning to step out of the mold that has plagued both black and whites in this nation. It is a story of love that two people share. One black and one white. Kathy and Richard quit school, and leave from Baton Rouge to New Orlens. They are hoping that there they will be accepted as a couple. For a short perioe life is great. They had the freedom they had sought. They have made new friends and found new jobs. Life was hard but they were making it together. Yet it was also the beginning of Richard's descent. It becomes hard for him to tell reality from his days in Viet Nam. Eventually, they part, but not for reasons anyone who is reading this may thing. It is where they find true tragedy. Kathy jumps on the first bus leaving. She is running away from her past, and the events that have destroyed her world. She arrives in San Pedro, California not knowing what she will do. She is a young woman who is mourning her loss. Her pain will not go away, and she does not know how to pick up the pieces and begin a new life. How she does it is her story, the story of Pacific Avenue. The author has sought to entertain you and to keep your attention focus on the book. She has done so untl the last page. Five stars Anne as this book is an excellent read for all.