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In 1974, when Ann Ahern begins her junior year of high school, South Boston is in crisis -- Catholic mothers are blockading buses to keep Black children from the public schools, and teenagers are raising havoc in the streets. Ann, an outsider in her own Irish-American community, is infatuated with her beautiful French teacher, Mademoiselle Eugénie, who hails from Paris but is of African descent. Spurred by her adoration for Eugénie, Ann embarks on a journey that leads her beyond South Boston, through the fringes of the Black Power movement, toward love, and ultimately to the truth about herself. In this ambitious and arresting novel, Stephanie Grant's searing prose, powerful storytelling, and richly drawn characters bring tumultuous moment in American history into perfect focus.
It's 1984. Alice Forrester is a twenty-five-year-old anorexic who has just experienced heart failure when she is taken to the emergency room of Seaview Hospital, renowned for its eating disorders clinic. There, family and friends in league with staff and doctors intently try to steer her toward recovery. But it's not that simple. She passes time at the clinic waiting to find out what is wrong with her. What happened. When and how the damage was done. Along the way, Alice encounters a fascinating array of oddballs and misfits - Dr. Paul, the physician who clinically evaluates and monitors this disparate group of afflicted young women; various members of the psychiatric support staff whose treatment of anorexia revolves around a chillingly familiar twelve-step program; wraithlike, flaxen-haired Gwen, whose anorexia ultimately turns into tragedy; and finally Maeve, raucous, vulgar, tender, and kind, who shakes up Alice's life and opens her eyes. Alice questions many things about herself in addition to her eating disorder including her sexuality.