Rita Jackson is a young woman on the skids, spending her time in shelters and on the dot-com-drunk streets of late 1990s San Francisco. She's a young woman haunted by the murder of her mother when she was thirteen, and a young bride haunted by the disappearance of her husband, Jimmy, who split after a nasty argument more than a year earlier. Together Jimmy and Rita were slipping into drugs and hard times. Rita is filled with feelings of guilt and failure, and the hope that she will one day and Jimmy. She doesn't know that he is still in the city, still in love with her, waiting tables in an expensive restaurant while trying to get a foothold in the straight life.
When Rita witnesses the aftermath of a murder, her own life is endangered. She becomes involved with Gary Shepard, a married criminal investigator drawn to the dark side of this young woman. What unfolds is a story of three flawed people struggling with themselves as much as with their circumstances, as each of them is pulled more deeply and dangerously into the consequences of their decisions. When a drunken night leads Jimmy to jeopardize his second and last chance, it seems unlikely that these sweet, damaged people will ever come to anything, let alone find and -- miracle of miracles -- save one another.
But fate, in Addonizio's hands, works in strange and beautiful geometries. And redemption, she tells us, is never impossible.
|Publisher:||Simon & Schuster|
|Sold by:||SIMON & SCHUSTER|
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About the Author
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Kim Addonizio is a marvelous original. She writes like a divine union of Flannery O¿Conner and Virginia Woolf, William Faulkner and Raymond Chandler. She¿s one of the most unadorned, artful spiritual writers I know. My Dreams Out in the Street has everything I look for in a contemporary novel. Rita, its lead character, is compelling. Alternately sexy, mysterious, stupid, resourceful, and inept, She moves through San Francisco¿s underbelly with unflagging desperation. Struggling to survive, Rita is one of those people who never got an even break. She wants to climb out of the hole she¿s in to a better life, but doesn¿t know how. She¿s hungry to get right with God, who appeared to her once in a childhood vision but has been woefully absent since, and she wants to find Jimmy, her husband who left their apartment one night after an argument and disappeared. Along the way, she sees something she shouldn¿t, is hunted by a psychotic deadbeat, and hooks up with a married private investigator who helps her and promises to find Jimmy. The story alternates between these three points of view, and Addonizio does a masterful job of interweaving the characters¿ separate-yet-parallel stories, especially through the last third of the book as the plot quickens and various elements come together in surprising, satisfying ways. Without giving away everything, I can tell you that I lost two good nights¿ sleep fearing that Rita would soon be murdered. All through the narrative, Addonizio¿s eye for nuance, description, and detail is a gifted poet¿s eye. Her depictions of homelessness and desperate urban street life are achingly poignant and scary. And yet, and yet! She believes in grace, in spiritual integrity: ¿The streetlights came on all together. Lights began flaring in windows up and down the block, where people were returning to families or friends, looking forward to the holiday soon they would give thanks, grateful to spend a few hours with those they had chosen or been given to love, those they had gathered around them to help them live.¿ I wish I¿d written that! Reward yourself for any little or big thing and spend some time with this book. If you¿re paying attention, if you¿ve got a pulse, you can¿t help but fall in love with these characters and their creator. --Robert McDowell, the Poetry Mentor and author of Poetry as Spiritual Practice, available July 2008 from Free Press/Simon & Schuster