Cover

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Praise, Title page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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p. ix

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The Great Gatsby Party 1974

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pp. 1-14

When the Secret Service agents climbed up into the large oak trees lining the perimeter of the yard, Alice Townley thought they looked like giant tarsiers. She had seen tarsiers in her picture book about wild animals called...

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Use Everything in Your Arsenal 1980

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pp. 15-35

All of the neighborhood kids were playing “shark attack” when we heard a whooping cowboy call.
“Yah! Yah! Yah!”
We couldn’t see who was yelling, but we heard the smack of fast feet on the sidewalk. In...

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Lucky 1985

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pp. 36-58

Alice got caught on a Tuesday. Her parents were on vacation so the principal had to call Aunt Rita, who lived way out in Clarkston. Of course Aunt Rita, dependent on Alice’s father’s goodwill, said that yes, she was babysitting...

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The Guest Room 1986

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pp. 59-80

When his son left, Ralph’s nightmares revved up. The artillery chattered again after more than fifty years détente. Several times a week, Ralph woke up in the middle of the street or crouched on the sidewalk. Getting up, he would stand for several...

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A Shift in the Weather 1990

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pp. 81-106

In the spring of her junior year at Michigan State, Alice’s father called with what was, in her estimation, horrific news. He’d gotten her a summer job in his small Ohio hometown working in a bank. This was the last thing she expected from the man who...

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Trees from Heaven 2003

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pp. 107-124

The funeral had already been held. Sean said he was sorry he hadn’t contacted her—he hadn’t been thinking clearly. Alice said it was OK even though a ringing had started up, insistent as a schoolyard bell, in her ears. It was all she could...

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Opportunity Cost 2006

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pp. 125-144

My name is David Clarke. For the last two decades I have been a high-school economics and sociology teacher in an affluent suburb outside Detroit—a suburb that has had to work hard to maintain its tenuous air of allure. It is situated a...

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The Vagaries of Love 2007

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pp. 145-168

The first night of the Caribbean cruise, Missy and Alice are in their respective beds at two in the morning, listening to Stephanie hurl in the bathroom, when Missy announces that she has set her alarm for 7:00 a.m. in order to go to chapel before...

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In the Hermitage 2010

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pp. 169-194

I have been thinking about the fact that I never said goodbye to you—never talked to you after that night senior year. I should have gotten in contact after rehab. I am sorry about that. It wasn’t your fault, and you probably still think I blame you...

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In the Museum of Your Life 2011

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pp. 195-208

Alice’s children were almost grown. In Detroit, where once there had been run-down buildings and garbage heaps, prairie grass now prevailed. Despite evidence to the contrary, Alice’s husband Ed remained convinced the city was poised for...

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Garden for the Blind 2014

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pp. 209-234

Despite all of her warnings to her daughter Denise, Alice was being escorted into the principal’s office again, the sixth time in the past two years. To make matters worse, Principal Barich was engaged in a heated telephone conversation when...

Acknowledgments

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pp. 235-235