Broke and knocked up, Mattie Wallace has got all her worldly possessions crammed into six giant trash bags and nowhere to go. Try as she might, she really is turning into her late mother, a broken alcoholic who never met a bad choice she didn't make.Read more...
Broke and knocked up, Mattie Wallace has got all her worldly possessions crammed into six giant trash bags and nowhere to go. Try as she might, she really is turning into her late mother, a broken alcoholic who never met a bad choice she didn't make.
When Mattie gets news of a possible inheritance left by a grandmother she's never met, she jumps at this one last chance to turn things around. Leaving the Florida Panhandle, she drives eight hundred miles to her mother's birthplace the tiny town of Gandy, Oklahoma. There, she soon learns that her mother remains a local mystery a happy, talented teenager who inexplicably skipped town thirty-five years ago with nothing but the clothes on her back. But the girl they describe bears little resemblance to the damaged woman Mattie knew, and before long it becomes clear that something terrible happened to her mother. The deeper Mattie digs for answers, the more precarious her situation becomes. Giving up, however, isn't an option. Uncovering what started her mother's downward spiral might be the only way to stop her own."
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-07-06
- Reviewer: Staff
Decarlo’s excellent debut chronicles what happens when 30-year-old Mattie Wallace finds herself unearthing family secrets in her mother’s hometown. Mattie remembers her deceased mother, Genie, as a broken alcoholic who dated a string of losers—save for Mattie’s erstwhile stepfather, Queeg, with whom she still has a relationship. After being identified as the only surviving heir to her estranged grandmother’s house, Mattie spends all her money and ventures to the small town of Gandy, Okla. Her deadbeat boyfriend, Nick, who keeps calling, doesn’t know that Mattie is pregnant with his child. DeCarlo manages to make her heroine endearing despite her many flaws: she creates clever private jokes with the reader and slips in the occasional heartbreaking memory between brash shows of pushiness. Luke, a kindly paralegal, allows Mattie to stay at her grandmother’s property while the legal kinks get worked out, and Mattie takes a job at the library. People in town recall Genie as a vibrant blonde who had a music scholarship—an image Mattie has trouble reconciling with the bitter redhead who raised her. With a little nosing around, Mattie manages to get to the bottom of why her mother suddenly left town and became who she was. DeCarlo’s writing bristles with Mattie’s vibrant personality. The book’s final pages feel somewhat rushed and condensed after the long, leisurely story that unfolds earlier, but this doesn’t detract from what is otherwise a triumphant first novel. (Sept.)