Our lives all contain growth spurts--physical ones, most obviously, but intellectual and emotional ones as well. This acutely powerful debut novel focuses on just such a time in the life of a nineteen-year-old girl. Mandy Boyle is leaving home for the first time to begin college, full of ambition and anticipation, more than ready to sever ties with her blue-collar family and their backwater town in upstate New York. Over the next six months, Mandy's life is transformed, but hardly in the way she'd anticipated. Her father's sudden death acts as a disruptive catalyst on her own life, and overnight, it seems, her childhood ends. Mandy drops out of college, moves to New York City with a man she hardly knows, goes to work, and gets herself caught in an agonizing situation that she didn't choose but is entrapped by nonetheless.
The stage in a pregnancy when a fetus first shows signs of having a life of its own is known as the "quickening"--a milestone of development as important and dramatic as when a young person leaves home for the first time. The story of Mandy's quickening--her emotionally wrenching growth spurt--is an affecting, engrossing read, about real people making real choices, reacting to the unexpected turns a life can take. Brown's writing evokes comparisons to that of pragmatic, perceptive novelists like Wally Lamb, Elizabeth Berg, and Mona Simpson as she describes a young woman's growing, acting, and choosing, for the first time, a life for herself.
From the Hardcover edition.
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|Title of Business & Economics eBook: Quickening|
|Release Date: 12-18-2007|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Random House Publishing Group|
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The morning I was leaving for college, Mom fainted. She had been playing solitaire at the kitchen table and had stood up too fast.
I was washing the car with Dad, who'd gone inside for matches, then came back out and said, "She's down."
I dropped the hose. Water pooled in the crevices where weeds grew, ran down the driveway and out into the street. "Did you call Dr. Wykoff ?" I followed Dad into the kitchen.
"Now, how'm I going to do that, Mandy?"
Of course. The phone had been cut off. We hadn't paid the bill.
The cards were scattered over the table. Mom lay on the kitchen floor, her pilly pink robe half buttoned and wrinkled around her fleshy splayed legs, slippers still on her feet. Her blue eyes bulged and blinked. "It took you long enough," she said as we bent over to help.
She twisted my forearms in a vise grip while Dad, wheezing, cigarette hanging from between his clenched lips, hoisted her up from behind. "Be careful, for God's sake," she said. "You know how easily I bruise."
"Can you make it to the car?" he asked. "We'll drive you to Ransomville General."
"I'm not going to the hospital looking like this! It's just a meegrain. The dizziness will pass. Help me to bed."
"They're called migraines, Mom." I took one side and Dad took the other.
"Would you listen to smarty-pants!" Mom was short but wide, and solid, still a dead weight after her faint. Her robe smelled of trapped sweat.
"Are you sure you don't want to go to the hospital?" I asked.
"Didn't I just say no? Don't treat me l...