Body Leaping Backward: Memoir of a Delinquent Girlhood; Maureen Stanton

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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.     

July 16, 2019


About the Author

Maureen Stanton is an award-winning writer, whose most recent book, "Body Leaping Backward: Memoir of a Delinquent Girlhood," was a "People Magazine" Best New Books choice. People Magazine called Body Leaping Backward a "blazingly important memoir about the possibility of change." Stanton also wrote "Killer Stuff and Tons of Money," a work of immersion journalism that explores the subculture of flea markets, antiques, and collecting. "Killer Stuff" received a Massachusetts Book Award in nonfiction. She has received a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship, Pushcart Prize, a Maine Arts Commission Individual Artist Fellowship, and her work has been listed as "Notable" by Best American Essays (Houghton Mifflin) six times. She teaches creative writing at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.

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