Working Parts

Overview

Lori Taylor is a top-notch bicycle mechanic and a smart woman with well-oiled charisma. And, she cannot read. Her best fried Mickey is long on literacy but comes up short in matters of love. The two friends enter into a pact that leads to dangerous emotional territory. But as they negotiate the rough ride of personal growth, the mutual dream that drives them begins to unravel... Working Parts is an exceptional novel that taps the essence of friendship and the potential unleashed...
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Overview

Lori Taylor is a top-notch bicycle mechanic and a smart woman with well-oiled charisma. And, she cannot read. Her best fried Mickey is long on literacy but comes up short in matters of love. The two friends enter into a pact that leads to dangerous emotional territory. But as they negotiate the rough ride of personal growth, the mutual dream that drives them begins to unravel... Working Parts is an exceptional novel that taps the essence of friendship and the potential unleashed when we face our most intense fears.

From the Lambda Literary Award-winning author of Sweat. Lesbian cyclist Lori Taylor, an exceedingly likable, top-notch bike mechanic, is a smart woman with a secret: she can't read. Her best friend, Mickey, is long on literacy, but often comes up short on love. When the two friends enter into a pact, they are led into dangerous emotional territory. 208 pp. Author tour.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
The title of Bledsoe's first adult novel (following a story collection, Sweat, LJ 10/1/95, and a YA novel, The Big Bike Race, Holiday House, 1995) refers to a mechanic's ordered universe, a self-assured lesbian's sense of women's bodies, and reading, which, like cycling, opens up new worlds. Lori, a brash, likable bike mechanic who can't read, compares coming out as a new reader to coming out as a lesbian, with initial fear giving way to the exhilaration of discovering a community. With humor and sympathy, Bledsoe conveys how hostile the world of books and print looks to an illiterate person. It is not entirely credible that someone with as much self-knowledge as Lori is described as having would act as self-destructively as she does, but this minor quibble does not diminish the pleasure of reading Bledsoe's novel. In addition to its appeal as fiction, this book is important reading for anyone interested in adult literacy. Recommended for all collections.Ina Rimpau, Newark P.L. N.J.
Kirkus Reviews
A spirited, conversational narrative improves a somewhat predictable debut novel (after the story collection Sweat, 1995) featuring the irascible Lori Taylor, a lesbian bicycle mechanic struggling to overcome adult illiteracy.

Against the sunny backdrop of Berkeley and San Francisco, 28- year-old Lori lives a carefree life repairing bikes during the day and then going on long, after-hours treks with Mickey, her coworker and best friend. Mickey, facially disfigured after a car accident when he was ten, got a large cash settlement for his loss, money he hopes to use now to open his own bike shop with Lori as partner—on one condition: that she agree to a pact with Mickey (who has to overcome his shyness with girls) that she learn how to read before they open their bike store. Lori, though, harbors no enthusiastic visions of a world opened up to her, nor does she consider reading anything more than a drudge. While sensitive to the subject of adult illiteracy, Bledsoe agreeably avoids either a patronizing or an overly tender approach: Lori is not a dismal failure, but someone who simply can't read. Her tutor is Deirdre Felix, a wealthy no-nonsense older woman recently capsized by a husband who has run off with his secretary. The two make a Mutt and Jeff pair—Lori full of down-to-earth althleticism and Deirdre cultured and reserved—but they nevertheless create an odd alliance out of mutual need. Simultaneously, Lori begins an affair with Whitney, a young, sophisticated businesswoman, though the romance doomed to failure because it's built on a complex web of lies, an earmark of the secret life of the illiterate. Eventually, after much tedious work, Lori discovers the magic of words and becomes, quite proudly, a reader.

A modest, straightforward debut whose likable characters and honest approach make up for the simple plotting.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781878067944
  • Publisher: Avalon Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 3/28/1997
  • Pages: 195
  • Product dimensions: 5.21 (w) x 8.24 (h) x 0.57 (d)

Meet the Author


Lucy Jane Bledsoe: Lucy Jane Bledsoe is the author of four novels, a collection of short fiction, a collection of narrative nonfiction, and six books for kids. When she’s not writing, she’s sea kayaking in Alaska, backpacking in the Rockies, or backcountry skiing in the Sierras.
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