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TLC Review: Body Leaping Backward by Maureen Stanton

Title: Body Leaping Backward: Memoir of a Delinquent Girlhood
Author: Maureen Stanton
Year Published: 2019

Genre: Adult nonfiction (memoir)
Pages: 299
Rating: 3 out of 5

Location (my 2019 Google Reading map)USA (MA)

FTC Disclosure: I was given this book for TLC Book Review

Summary (from the back of the book): 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.


Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Author Links: WebsiteTwitter, and Instagram
Review: It's Nonfiction November so it worked out well for me that a tour I signed up for includes a nonfiction book. Too bad the book didn't work for me.

I felt a little bit like I was reading the adult version of Go Ask Alice (which, alarmingly, I read in 6th grade). Stanton is now a professor, but as a teenager in the mid to late '70s she ran wild, doing PCP daily. Descriptions of these experiences in addition to her hanging out with people living on the fringe and living a reckless lifestyle, make up the bulk of the book. I'm just not interested in that sort of story even if it is great that she gave it all up and got her life on track.

The author's tumultuous years are framed with stories of time with her family. Her early childhood as one of six children seems to have been spent riding around listening to her mother threaten punishment in Walpole prison then watching her mother shoplift her way through life after a divorce. She and her family have remained close into adulthood, which is how she finished the book.

For me, a book like this needs to have a point and I guess I just wasn't clear what hers was.

Challenges for which this counts: 
Review Tour:
Monday, November 4th: Tabi Thoughts
Tuesday, November 5th: Instagram: @shelovesthepages
Wednesday, November 6th: seasaltdaydreams
Thursday, November 7th: bookchickdi
Friday, November 8th: Iwriteinbooks’s blog
Monday, November 11th: The Sketchy Reader
Tuesday, November 12th: PhDiva
Thursday, November 14th: Instagram: @books_and_broadway_
Monday, November 18th: Helen’s Book Blog
Wednesday, November 20th: Mockingbird Hill Cottage
Friday, November 22nd: Blunt Scissors Book Reviews
Monday, December 2nd: Instagram: @quietmountainreader
Tuesday, December 3rd: Comfy Reading
Wednesday, December 4th: Booksie’s Blog
Thursday, December 5th: Thoughts On This ‘n That
Friday, December 6th: Lit and Life
Friday, December 13th: Openly Bookish

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