Body Leaping Backward: Memoir of a Delinquent Girlhood

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In a captivating memoir, award-winning author Maureen Stanton candidly shares her childhood story of a little girl lost growing up in the 1960s and 1970s, an era besieged by rebellion, drugs, economic challenge, and social change. A small town just south of Boston, Massachusetts, became the place in which she spent most of her childhood years. For four decades, Walpole was the home of Massachusetts’ only maximum-security, level-six prison, gaining notoriety for housing some of the most menacing criminals in the nation. On weekends, Stanton’s father would take her and her siblings to the local park or library while her mother took them to the “town dump” to rummage through second-hand things left behind or to the Hobby Shop at Walpole State Prison to purchase the hand-crafted items of inmates. It was a well-known threat in her household, among the siblings, that if they didn’t behave they’d end up with the same unfortunate fate as those behind the walls of the prison. At the age of 12, the foundation of Stanton’s family unit disintegrated. Life for her, as well as her six siblings, irreversibly changed after the separation of her parents. Supervision was minimal, money was a constant and draining struggle, and sadness prevailed, eventually resulting in paths of criminality, drug use, and emotional instability. No one within the confines of their family was left untouched. Two years of experimenting heavily with drugs, running with the wrong crowd, and participating in reckless and lawless behavior nearly drained the life out of Stanton, both literally and figuratively. Somehow, with unwavering support and the foundation that was formed in her earliest childhood years, she was gifted the inner-strength necessary to crawl out of the depths of despair and into the translucent light of a future with new beginnings.

Body Leaping Backward: Memoir of a Delinquent Girlhood is an indelible story of love, heartache, addiction, and revival. It’s unquestionably a page-turner and sweeps across time and space in its magnitude and relatability. In the 1960s and 1970s, the Vietnam War and its lasting effects, as well as the rapidly changing social and economic climates of the times collided, resulting in the breakdown of the family unit, an increase in drug use across the nation, and an unprecedented escalation in crime. In this gripping memoir, angel dust (otherwise known as PCP) was the drug responsible for crippling the lives of Walpole youth at the time of Stanton’s struggles, but today, a similar story can be told. Threats of terrorism, poverty, and opioid abuse plague much of the nation now.

Regardless of one’s afflictions—then or now—the author’s words resonate. She expressed the sheer anger she felt towards the little girl who nearly wasted herself away when she was young and foolish when, as an adult nearly twenty years later, she traversed the pages of her diary entries from the mid-1970s. Then, as often one must do, she came to realize that only with love and forgiveness could she heal and make amends with her unsavory past. Reading her words and gaining depth and insight from the experiences she eloquently describes may offer great hope to those who need it most, and to others, it may simply provide an interesting glimpse of the past during a time of notable social and economic uprising. In any case, her work is well worth the read, and the climb she made out of the trenches and into a world of meaning is remarkable. Her work illustrates that truly anything is possible.

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Author Maureen Stanton
Star Count /5
Format Hard
Page Count 218 pages
Publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publish Date 2019-07-16
ISBN 9781328900234 Buy this Book
Issue December 2019
Category Biographies & Memoirs


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