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In Anne Lamott’s wise and witty novel, the growing pains of motherhood are portrayed with rare humor and honesty. If Elizabeth Ferguson had her way, she’d spend her days savoring good books, cooking great meals, and waiting for the love of her life to walk in the door. But it’s not a man she’s waiting for, it’s her daughter, Rosie—her wild-haired, smart-mouthed, and wise-beyond-her-years alter ego. With Rosie around, the days aren’t quite so long, but Elizabeth can’t keep the realities of the world at bay, and try as she might, she can’t shield Rosie from its dangers or mysteries. As Rosie grows older and more curious, Elizabeth must find a way to nurture her extraordinary daughter—even if it means growing up herself.
Barrettes and hair ribbons, plastic lipsticks, a jewelry box that played music when you opened it: inside, a ballerina spun on a pedestal surrounded by rubies, emeralds, pearls; porcelain geisha dolls under glass boxes, clean stuffed animals—it was almost more than Rosie could take. Giggling with Sharon, blissed out, excited, she imagined smashing the geisha dolls’ heads off with a hammer, stealing the jewels, a lipstick, the ribbons. Pangs of bad conscience skittered through her mind, but mostly
and began to read together, leaving the women to talk. “Way Down Yonder in New Orleans” was playing, and Elizabeth, feeling like an old lizard basking in the sun, reached over and tweaked Rae’s cheek. “Don’t be nervous.” “Oh. Okay.” “Your weavings are beautiful. I keep telling you they make me totally jealous.” “Really?” “Yeah.” “Mama?” “Yeah?” “What does well-appointed mean?” “Read me the sentence.” “His ex, who starred with him in a dozen movies, added, ‘Physically, he was
Thanks.” Lank stood and walked to her. “Elizabeth?” “Please.” “James.” “Yeah.” “Drunk again,” said Lank. “Two nights running. It’s because we’re unemployed.” “It’s because we’re alcoholics,” said James. “No, we’re not.” “Pretty damn close.” Elizabeth looked up when Lank handed her the red thermos cup of Tang and vodka. “Thanks.” “You have an extremely aristocratic face. Doesn’t she, James?” “Yes,” he said, smoking again. “Do you guys backpack often?” Rae asked, lighting a
Rosie’s room while Elizabeth fried mushrooms to go on their steaks. Bach and the smell of butter frying soothed her, and she poured herself an Irish whiskey. She must somehow learn to concentrate: when she wasn’t with James, she must learn to focus on whatever she was doing—reading, gardening, cleaning, cooking—but even as she thought this the rhythms and smells and therapy of cooking escaped her. I will call him tonight and take the plunge. I will learn to accept him as he is, so we will be
under a Mars-black sky dotted with stars. While Tina chattered about the wedding gifts, Rosie stared at an unoccupied spider web that hung from the banister, gummy beads glistening on spokes which radiated out in bridges of silk. At school they were making webs of cotton threads, delicate orbs with supports and rungs; the third grade was studying spiders. Rosie had reported to James that spiders had glands called spinnerets, with which they spun silk for their webs, and for parachutes, so that