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Lay It on My Heartby Angela Pneuman
Synopses & Reviews
This piercing, sly debut novel tells the story of one unforgettable month in a Kentucky girls thirteenth year. Charmaine Peakes prophet father has been committed to a psychiatric institution. Her mother, forced to rent out their house and move them down to a trailer on the river, wont stop telling Charmaine things she doesnt want to hear—from marital details and middle-aged doubts to uncomfortable preoccupations with Charmaines changing body. A sanctimonious missionary kid has taken over her real bedroom, where Charmaine discovers his stash of strange and questionable photos. She is being tested at every turn: Where will her choices take her? And her faith? She tries to pray ceaselessly as her father taught, but with so much upheaval, even God seems to have changed.
Like the beloved Ya-Ya Sisterhood, Lay It on My Heart unleashes Southern humor on the effects of a parents mental illness. It brings us into the heart of a family weathering the toughest patch in their lives. But most of all, it marks out the seemingly unbearable realities of adolescence and the power that comes from discovering—and accepting—who you are. A moving, hilarious portrayal of the relationship between mothers and daughters, this book fulfills Angela Pneumans promise as “one of the most astonishingly talented writers today”(Julie Orringer).
"Pneuman uses potent prose in her intimate and intense debut novel about a most difficult month in the life of a 13-year-old girl in rural Kentucky. Charmaine Peake's grandfather was a famous evangelical, her father is a prophet, and the day-to-day life she leads with her parents is governed by religion. When her father suffers a mental break upon returning from a year in the Holy Land, the result is that Charmaine and her mother must move into a trailer by the river and rent out the family home to pay for his in-patient care. Meanwhile, Charmaine's physical maturation speeds up, and at her new school, she encounters others her age whose lives are not wholly dictated by their faith. Regular teenage angst is magnified by her attempts to live up to her father's ideals, and complicated by living in cramped quarters on a dime with a long-suffering mother. The author is very effective with her first-person narrative; readers will come to intimately inhabit Charmaine's point of view. (July)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
A wry, moving debut novel from a Stegner fellow and "one of the most gifted young writers around" (Lorrie Moore), Lay It on My Heart takes us through one unforgettable month in Charmaine Peake's thirteenth year as she comes to understand the complicated strength of mothers, the trials of faith, and the life-changing power of a true friend.
It's summer in Kentucky, the low ceiling of August pressing down on Charmaine Peake and the town of East Winder. Charmaine and her mother get along better with a room between them, but they've been forced by circumstances to relocate to a tiny trailer by the river. The last of a line of local holy men, Charmaine's father has turned from prophet to patient, his revelation lost in the clarifying haze of medication. Her sure-minded grandmother has suffered a stroke. At church, where she has always felt most certain, Charmaine is tested when she uncovers that her archrival, a sanctimonious missionary kid, carries a dark, confusing secret. Suddenly her life can be sorted into what she wishes she knew and what she wishes she didn't.
A moving, hilarious portrait of mothers and daughters, Lay It on My Heart brings us into the heart of a family weathering the toughest patch of their lives. But most of all, it marks out the seemingly unbearable realities of growing up, the strength that comes from finding real friendship, and the power of discovering—and accepting—who you are.
Tonsillectomies should not be performed at home, cucumbers do not make good stand-ins, and golf clubs are not for hitting your mother.
Angela Pneuman renders these unsettling truths, small and large, with blazing insight in Home Remedies. It is a startling debut collection of stories peopled by Christian fundamentalists traversing various stages and crises of belief, grappling with intimacies that feel like an anxious mix of longing and repulsion, relating to one another in an uneasy balance of eagerness and wariness.
A compassionate and clear-eyed look at religious faith and family ties, Home Remedies marks the beginning of a distinguished literary career.
About the Author
ANGELA PNEUMAN, raised in Kentucky, is a former Stegner Fellow and teaches fiction writing at Stanford University. Her work has been included in The Best American Short Stories, the Virginia Quarterly Review, Ploughshares, and elsewhere. Her widely praised story collection, Home Remedies, was hailed as “call[ing] to mind Alice Munro” by the San Francisco Chronicle. She lives in Chicago and in the Bay Area of California.
Table of Contents
All Saints Day
The Bell Ringer
The Long Game
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