Body Leaping Backward: Memoir of a Delinquent Girlhood

· Sold by HarperCollins
5 reviews

About this ebook

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.     


Ratings and reviews

5 reviews
Sue Watson
October 1, 2019
I read this book in two sittings - so well written and hard to put down. Stanton's reminiscing brings us right back to the 70s - the details are incredible. Her story transcends timelines as so many young people find themselves in similar predicaments today in their attempts to navigate their teen and young-adult years. A true story of faith in oneself and redemption.
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Barbie Goodhue
October 1, 2019
This book is beautifully written. It is such an important story and teaches us about self reflection and triumph over tough times. As relevant now as it was then, I think everyone should read this. It is funny, sad, redeeming and inspiring. I love how Stanton weaves important historical issues into the narrative.
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Nancy Sferra
October 6, 2019
Stanton is a wonderful writer and tells a compelling story of growing up in the shadow of Walpole Prison following her parent's divorce. The resulting struggles and her ultimate determination to alter the trajectory of her life should resonate with many people who face the same struggles. This is a beautifully written book.
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About the author

MAUREEN STANTON, the author of Killer Stuff and Tons of Money, has been awarded the Iowa Review prize, a Pushcart Prize, the American Literary Review award in nonfiction, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts. Stanton teaches at UMass Lowell.

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