Judy Garland, Ginger Love

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9780060392512: Judy Garland, Ginger Love

In her extraordinary debut novel, critically acclaimed poet Nicole Cooley takes readers on a humorous, achingly beautiful journey to a world of magical escapes and startling restorative truths. Judy Garland, Ginger Love is about motherhood and sisterhood, being and becoming, loving and learning to let go.

I know about sisters. Being a sister is the role in life I've always been best at, the one part I could play well. When I tried to become a mother, I failed.

After a tragic pregnancy leaves Alice Carson bereft and unmoored, she turns for comfort not to her husband, but rather to her estranged identical twin Madeline. However, this attempted return to the past is fraught with emotional landmines. While Alice, calm and serious, is the older sister, born five minutes earlier, the explosive and wild Madeline has dominated the pair's solitary lives since childhood.

From birth, Alice and Madeline shared a private, imaginary worldone colored by the larger-than-life tale of the dazzling and tragic MGM star Judy Garland. Handed down from their grandmother to their mother and now to them, the dramatic story of the actress' rise to stardom inspires Alice and Madeline to create their own Emerald City. Playing out their deepest fantasies in the empty swimming pool of the cheap New Orleans motel they called home, the young Alice and Madeline transform themselves into Judy Garland and her "baby sister" Ginger Love.

The twins' enchanted world is shattered the day their mother abandons them, vanishing with little more than a brief goodbye. Now, years later, Alice gives herself up to her sister's outrageous scheme to find Lily. Having lost her unborn daughter, Alice desperately hopes to get her mother back.

As the open road draws the sisters closer to their past, two women come face to face with life's painful realities; for the nearer they come to recapturing Emerald City, the more Madeline unravels, and the more Alice begins to see where her home is, and where her heart truly belongs.

Judy Garland, Ginger Love resonates with profound insights that will leave no reader untouched.

"A touching return to love."
Barbara Esstman, author of Night Ride Home

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About the Author:

A graduate of the Iowa Writers Workshop, Nicole Cooley teaches poetry at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, where she lives with her husband. Her poetry collection Resurrection won the Walt Whitman Poetry Award from the Academy of American Poets.

From Publishers Weekly:

Bravely venturing into several recently well-mowed fields (most obviously identical twinship and eating disorders), Cooley gamely searches for fresh insights in this quirky, initially intriguing but ultimately wearying debut about a family of women fascinated with WWII-era Hollywood glamour. Narrated by Alice, who has returned to her hometown of Sarasota with Owen, her linguist husband, in a misguided attempt to avoid mourning the intrauterine death of their baby, the novel is actually dominated by Madeline, Alice's estranged, unbalanced twin sister. The siblings reunite to track down their mother, Lily, in New Orleans. Lily bore the girls when she was a teenager and disappeared when Alice and Madeline turned 18, long after she had prodded them into bulimia (a habit she learned from her grandmother, also a twin). She also passed on to them her obsession with Judy Garland and the Hollywood mystique. "I lost my daughter, but I'll get my mother back," Alice determines, yet the equation isn't that simple. Instead, Alice loses her sister once again but regains her future. Although Cooley, a Walt Whitman Award-winning poet (Renaissance), emulates more accomplished writers such as Alice Hoffman and Anne Tyler in this multigenerational story of neurosis, she burdens her flimsy domestic drama with symbolically loaded (but too often misfiring) references to Frida Kahlo, Alice in Wonderland, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? and the Emerald City. The novel's primary drawback is the characterization of Madeline, whose mania is exhausting both for sane sister Alice and for readers, who may long for a mild sedative by the end of this tiring road trip. Agent, Sally Wofford Girand; first serial to the Paris Review.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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