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Body leaping backward : memoir of a delinquent girlhood

by Stanton, Maureen.,

Format: Print Book 2019.
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Summary
The "mesmerizing . . . daring and important"* story of a risk-taking girlhood spent in a working-class prison town
*Andre Dubus III

For Maureen Stanton's proper Catholic mother, the town's maximum security prison was a way to keep her seven children in line ("If you don't behave, I'll put you in Walpole Prison!"). But as the 1970s brought upheaval to America, and the lines between good and bad blurred, Stanton's once-solid family lost its way. A promising young girl with a smart mouth, Stanton turns watchful as her parents separate and her now-single mother descends into shoplifting, then grand larceny, anything to keep a toehold in the middle class for her children. No longer scared by threats of Walpole Prison, Stanton too slips into delinquency--vandalism, breaking and entering--all while nearly erasing herself through addiction to angel dust, a homemade form of PCP that swept through her hometown in the wake of Nixon's "total war" on drugs.

Body Leaping Backward is the haunting and beautifully drawn story of a self-destructive girlhood, of a town and a nation overwhelmed in a time of change, and of how life-altering a glimpse of a world bigger than the one we come from can be.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Stanton (Killer Stuff and Tons of Money, 2011) turns the lens on herself in this coming-of-age memoir. Growing up outside Boston in working-class Walpole, Stanton and her six siblings were often left to their own devices, playing and riding bikes with other neighborhood kids while their parents used the nearby prison as a threat for any bad behavior. But after her parents' divorce, the first on the block, things rapidly change. Stanton begins drinking and, in the shadow of Nixon's war on drugs, using angel dust, a form of PCP. She engages in petty theft after seeing her desperate mother turn to shoplifting to support her family. Stanton's engaging memoir has a strong sense of place and time, transporting readers to the tumultuous 1970s as experienced in suburbia. The dichotomy of the prison's exploding population due to drug crimes while young white kids in the same town are getting dusted routinely is not lost, but could have been further explored. Regardless, this is a great choice for memoir readers and anyone interested in the '70s.--Kathy Sexton Copyright 2019 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "This jumbled memoir follows Stanton throughout her troubled girlhood in the prison town of Walpole, Mass., as she navigates her parent's divorce and her own drug addiction. After her family moved to Walpole in the mid-1960s, Stanton's mother would drive her and her six siblings by Walpole prison and warn them, "If you misbehave, you'll end up in there." The threat loomed in the background of her seemingly idyllic childhood, until her parents' divorce set grade-schooler Stanton adrift. Stanton's ideas of good and bad blurred-if the bad people were inside Walpole prison, why was it okay for her mother to shoplift from the local grocery? Soon, Stanton began shoplifting. During her sophomore year of high school, Stanton tried smoking angel dust, which ramped up to "Dust in the morning, dust at night, dust at school." She would drive around high with friends or hitchhike ("I wonder how I was not raped or killed or both, why was I not brain-damaged, ruined, sent away, locked up"). Eventually, she got counseling and quit angel dust, but she then began snorting cocaine; her path of recovery is not linear. Her writing is clear and thoughtful, yet while Stanton has created a solid portrait of a 1970s prison town, her reminiscences never quite coalesce into a satisfying narrative. (July) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Stanton, Maureen.
Female juvenile delinquents -- Massachusetts -- Walpole -- Biography.
Juvenile delinquents -- Massachusetts -- Walpole -- Biography.
Drug abuse and crime -- Massachusetts -- Walpole -- Case studies.
Autobiographies.
Publisher Boston :2019.
Language English
Description xv, 218 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages 212-215).
ISBN 9781328900234
1328900231
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