The Tracey Fragments

The Tracey Fragments

by Maureen Medved


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Naked under a tattered shower curtain, 15-year-old Tracey Berkowitz has been sitting on a bus for two days, telling her story and looking for her brother, Sonny, who thinks he’s a dog. She confesses her hopes and fantasies, as well as the grief and horror of a hardscrabble life. As time passes, Tracey’s stories begin to twist the truth and entwine it with lies, at once captivating and unsettling the reader. As an unforgettable portrait of a teenager on the verge of imploding, The Tracey Fragments has been compared to The Catcher in the Rye with a style similar to that of Go Ask Alice. Maureen Medved's first novel is a raw, moving account full of twists and turns, fear and uncertainty, trust and betrayal.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780887847684
Publisher: House of Anansi Press
Publication date: 11/28/2007
Pages: 160
Product dimensions: 8.46(w) x 5.32(h) x 0.20(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

I'm so happy. Have an amazing life. Now I'm going to scratch my eyes out.

    Think I'm funny? I'M AN EMERGENCY — sitting here, naked underneath the flowers on this scummy shower curtain.

    IT'S NOT MY FAULT. My DNA's fucked. You can ask Dr. Heker. Or, at least you could have, a lifetime ago. She was my psychiatrist. The problem is congenital, I heard her say once. Behind the door. I think she was on the phone.

    I'd also like to thank my parents. Their parents. God. My boyfriend. ESPECIALLY MY BOYFRIEND. When we met, the world got so clear you could hear a fork tinging against a glass in Mozambique. These days, my head could explode and I'd never even notice.

My name is Tracey Berkowitz. Fifteen. Just a normal girl who hates herself.

    Nobody can do anything. I can't talk about any of it.

    I can't talk to them. I'd never go back to those freaking retards. Remember in the news when two retards made a kid?

    That was me.

    Just kidding.

    Nothing outside this grimy window.

    For days, I've been on and off this plastic seat.

    Wondering why.

    The world sucks.

    No matter how you cut the world.

    And I haven't talked to anyone on this bus.

    Till now.

    I'm heading somewhere.

Here where I'm from is black and white. Black sky, white snow. In the spring, the snow melts into two rivers thatcross in Blue Jay Park. What's left surrounds miles of wavy grain. Black-and-white cows blotch the plain. Farmhouses crumble to dust. Dust blows into the city and whirls on street corners like little tornadoes.

    I had no choice about growing up here. I was a hothouse cauliflower. My parents grew me here against my will.

    I knew I'd do better in the streets. Become a rock star. Maybe join a freak show, force-fed so I can become a fat lady.

    Maybe in a few years they'd appreciate me. Maybe not.

Before I left, I had plans to form a metalcore band made of me -- Estuary Palomino, my stage name — and my boyfriend. My boyfriend is gorgeous. Famous. Long hair. And sings.

What happened that day wasn't my boyfriend.

My boyfriend's name is Billy Speed. Nobody calls him that. Only I call him that. Because he is my boyfriend. His real name is Bernie Himelfarb. That means Bernie Blue Heavens.

    Billy Speed isn't like everyone else. He foams. A Venus off the half-hell. He could have anyone. No one else even knows him.

It's probably obvious I've been around. And around.

Yes, Billy Speed touched me. This one time. When it happened.

    Nobody steams the way we steamed each other. All those hot and tiny vapours vibrated when we touched skin to skin.

The other day, something happened. Made my life pornographic. The day it happened. At Blue Jay Park. Sonny. Billy Speed. It. It's not my fault.

When things happen, you come to certain realizations. I can't tell you what. You'll end up on this bus. Like me.

Looking for someone.

Sonny. That's my brother. My little doggie. Wish I had one of those whistles. He'd be here now. On the side of the road. Barking.

Before Sonny, I played every day by myself. Wrapped my legs around stalks of trees. Hoisted myself branch by branch till I forgot where I was. Squinted till my eyes became slits and the sky became sea. In the winter, I'd sit in snowbanks and pee if I had to. At night I pressed my face against my window screen. Mosquitoes whined and crickets whistled. I looked up at the stars.

Nobody knows how when Sonny came he made everything new.

    My father brought him to our house. Found him in the snow. My father told me. Under a dead bitch.

My parents didn't want Sonny.

Spoon in my mouth. Duck bib stretching out. Refrigerator humming. He grabbed her on his knee. She wriggled like she had to go to the bathroom. They fought like wild biting dogs, he leapt over her, turning, barking her all over the linoleum, sweat flying, chasing each other up the stairs and slamming the door. I heard them. Made the bed clack back and forth like a train on the tracks.

A head squeezed. Upside down between a pair of legs. Then a slippery elephant trunk. In that order.

    Sonny came out smirking, like he was born into a joke.

    "It was your fault," my mother said, glaring at my father from under her hair.

    "Sure, it was all my fault," he said.

I wanted Sonny. He was my baby. I fed him. I washed him with soap in the sink. I put him to bed in his crib.

    Now I don't have anything. Except this hard plastic stuck all over me. Big ugly flowers. Shower-curtain ring-holes. My eyes in this dirty bus window.

    And I don't care.

    I'll stay on this bus till I find Sonny. I'll ride around in here, smearing the dirt from this window to see.

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The Tracey Fragments 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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SavageBS More than 1 year ago
Tracey Berkowitz's life is confusing, yet very interesting? The book is Tracey's mind racing from story to story, situation to situation, all the fragments of her so called life! The book is full crazy rants and unforgettable prose, these two were my favorites- "When a horse falls, foam comes out of its mouth. When it falls, the legs of the horse thrash and the horse is no good, so somebody shoots the horse. The horse turns into glue. A machine puts the glue into bottles. Some of the bottles have nipples and children squeeze the nipples to get the glue out and stick bits of paper onto cards. Glue gets on the children's hands and the children eat the glue. The children become the horse" "I don't like the country. Creeps me out. In the country, dead bodies lie in swamps, ditches, shallow graves. A man dumps the body of a girl in a ditch. The body rots and melts into slime. Flowers pop up where the body lies. Seeds fly out of the flowers. A bee sucks the flowers and makes honey. The family of the girl buys the honey from the store. The family eats the girl." Quick and short book, very easy to read, the dvd is out now, the movie should explain things a little better then the book!
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best books i've ever read. A detailed and fantastic story about a girl and her 'journey' to find her lost brother, and also, to find herself. An absolute must-read for all teenage girls.