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Stanton launches new memoir at Left Bank

Jul 08, 2019
Maureen Stanton

BELFAST — The public is invited to Left Bank Books to celebrate the publication of Maureen Stanton’s memoir, “Body Leaping Backward: Memoir of a Delinquent Girlhood,” at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, July 16 – the day that Stanton’s book goes on sale. A professor of creative writing at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, Stanton’s nonfiction has been widely published in literary journals and anthologies, and she’s received numerous literary prizes and awards, including the Pushcart Prize.

In “Body Leaping Backward,” Stanton recounts her risk-taking girlhood growing up in working-class Walpole, Mass. As the 1970s brought upheaval to America, Stanton’s once-solid family lost its way. Her parents separated and her now-single mother descended into shoplifting, then grand larceny – anything to keep a toehold in the middle class for her children. Stanton, too, slipped into delinquency (vandalism, breaking and entering), all while nearly erasing herself through addiction to angel dust.

Stanton finally pulled herself off this self-destructive path by summoning the courage to ask for help. She spent $20 a week from her new job pumping gas to seek counseling instead of buying drugs. She found a way to tolerate the structure of school her senior year and somehow remembered how to be smart, how to choose friends who don’t steal drugs, and how to speak up.

When asked why she decided to tell her story now, Stanton says that she’s “always wanted to give voice to that troubled teenage girl… My instincts to rebel… collided with a loss of self-confidence after my parents split up. I kept returning to this experience because I wanted to figure out why I made so many terrible choices, but I was also ashamed because of the trouble I caused and people I hurt. So for years I’d write parts of the story, then put it aside. Probably not coincidentally, after my father died in 2014, I began in earnest to write the book.”

Advance praise for Body Leaping Backward has been widespread:

~ "The miracle isn't how Maureen Stanton survived her harrowing adolescence, but how she can write about it with such beauty and clarity. I read this in one heart-in-my-throat sitting." — Monica Wood, author of “When We Were the Kennedys” and “The One-in-a- Million Boy.”

~ "Written with sensual, poetic, and evocative prose, this remarkable memoir is an honest exploration of what it means to come of age in the quiet wreckage of a broken home… A deeply moving, timely, and important memoir." — Andre Dubus III, author of “Townie” and “Gone So Long.”

~ “Powerful and probing, Stanton's book offers a sharp portrait of a wayward girl ‘leaping backward’ into disaster. Along the way, she reveals the way individuals are as much a product of time and place as they are of the families to which they belong. — Kirkus Reviews

Seating at the bookshop is limited and reservations for this free event are encouraged. Please call 338-9009 or email to reserve seats or to pre-order copies of “Body Leaping Backward.” Left Bank Books is located at 109 Church St., across the street from the police station. Ample parking is available in front of the shop and in an adjacent public lot.

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