Praise, Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-viii

Part I

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1. Forest, Trees

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pp. 3-18

WHEN I WAS TWENTY-TWO, I cut off my hair in Lovelock, Nevada. I’d been driving with the boom box blaring and the windows down, so when I got sick of my hair lashing at my face, I stopped at the Two Stiffs Selling Gas Mini Mart and borrowed a pair of scissors from the...

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2. Please Leave a Message

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pp. 19-26

BOB HAD THREE OR four friends in the country who’d set up pens on their land for injured animals. His current charges included a wildcat whose leg had been caught in a trap, a red-tailed hawk shot by a hunter, a litter of orphaned baby raccoons, and an owl with a broken wing. We...

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3. What Else Would Be the Wind?

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pp. 27-36

I FIRST STAYED WITH the Gallaghers the summer after my freshman year at Spalding, the boarding school where Emily and I met. My parents were spending the month of June at an artists’ colony in Montauk, working on one of their famous collaborations (one part performance...

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4. Folie À Deux

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pp. 37-46

“JIMMY’S OLD HOUSE BURNED down a couple of years ago.” Wendy and I were sitting on the lime-green porch swing, waiting for Jimmy to pick me up for dinner. The cats were lolling on the porch steps as usual. A couple of neighborhood kids were drawing on the sidewalk with thick...

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5. The Reluctant King

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pp. 47-52

FRIDAY, THE DAY BEFORE the solstice party, I woke up to voices—the open loft of the bedroom looked on to the living room, and sound traveled. I put on a shirt and shorts and went downstairs. A boy sat across from Jimmy at the table. When I walked in the room, he ducked his...

Part II

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6. Fight, Flight, or Freeze

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pp. 55-76

THE FRIENDS JIMMY INVITED to the solstice party were people he’d known for years. I couldn’t imagine keeping up with so many people from high school and college. I didn’t have that many friends in high school and college. I had boyfriends, and I had Emily, and a few fellow...

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7. Serious Thrill Issues

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pp. 77-82

A FEW LEFTOVER PARTY guests stayed till late afternoon on Sunday, drinking Bloody Marys and playing horseshoes, until Jimmy finally served them coffee and sent them home. We were cleaning up when the phone rang. It was Phoebe. “Well, guess what,” she said, as if we were in the...

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8. Hedonically Adapting

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pp. 83-90

PROFESSOR PIERCE PIERSON’S HOUSE smelled of dog—even the front porch. He and his wife, Amanda, owned two decrepit Irish setters, Pinkie and Edna, one blind and one deaf. The dogs lay on the couches and beds, ate food off china plates, and shed their long red hair all over...

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9. Runaway Girls

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pp. 91-100

ON THE FOURTH OF July Jimmy and I were planning to watch the Merdale fireworks display, which took place at the river, but that afternoon Bob and Rocky showed up with an injured fawn. A combine had killed his mother and sibling and mangled one of his back legs. Rocky...

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10. Something’s Got to Give

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pp. 101-108

EMILY AND I AGREED that three things determine a job’s worth: 1) You like the work itself. 2) You like the people you work with. 3) The money’s good. Our rule was that you stick with any job that offers two out of three. At the professor’s, I had the work and the money. At the bookstore...

Part III

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pp. 109-110

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11. Secret Treasure

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pp. 111-126

EARLY IN AUGUST, GEORGE came to spend the night. This would be the first time he had slept over at Jimmy’s without his mother since the old house burned down. Normally Julie would have looked after him, but she was out of town, conferring with other booksellers about a batch...

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12. Unfinished Business

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pp. 127-138

MY MOTHER CONSTRUCTED AS SEMBLAGES that were like little windows into a secret world. She filled shadow boxes with objects she collected or scavenged, arranging and rearranging them until the effect suited her. The boxes were a puzzle, it seemed, and she was trying to make...

13. That Night

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pp. 139-146

14. A Wild Story

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pp. 147-162

15. Rearview Mirror

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pp. 163-176

Acknowledgments

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p. 177