A Year and a Day: A Novel by Leslie Pietrzyk

By Leslie Pietrzyk

Fifteen-year-old Alice goals of her first kiss, has sleepovers, auditions for Our Town, and attempts to move highschool biology. it really is 1975, and in the beginning glance, her existence would appear to be common and unexceptional. yet on the earth that Leslie Pietrzyk paints, each second she chronicles is printed during the kaleidoscope of loss, stained by way of the truth that Alice's mom, without notice, be aware, or apology, intentionally parks her vehicle at the railroad tracks, within the course of an oncoming train.

In the emotional 12 months that follows, Alice and her older brother locate themselves within the care in their nice aunt, pressured to manage and circulate ahead. Lonely and pressured, Alice absorbs herself in her mom Annette's widely used rituals, attempting to recapture their connection -- merely to be shocked by means of the sound of her mother's voice chatting with her, enticing Alice in ''conversations'' and supplying a few perception into the existence that she had led, past her position as Alice's mother.

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Miller after school (Becky jealously waiting in the hallway, peering in at us through the small glass pane in the door), I couldn’t understand even the simplest, easiest principle of chemistry. Because of my dead mother, he wouldn’t flunk me, but it felt important to do well on my own, like that would prove I was fine. So I asked Mr. Miller for extra credit if I memorized the periodic table of the elements: names, symbols, atomic masses, and atomic numbers. His voice slipped into dreaminess: “Learning the elements, the building blocks of life.

Mama spoke briskly: “Replace mascara every six months even if it’s not gone. ” I grabbed hold of the edges of the dressing table, squeezed hard until my arms turned sore and stiff. This wasn’t like wanting to know what was in the orange juice. Couldn’t she see? If I just had the answer to one thing. I spoke very quietly, on the verge of crying: “One simple question. ” But she didn’t go on. There was a silence. A sudden beam of sunlight cut diagonally through the window behind me; in the mirror I watched dust float through the light.

Rhinehart who would say hi first in the hall, but she wasn’t even my teacher, so she probably thought I was someone else. My own teachers would say things like, “Reports on The Red Badge of Courage are due Friday. Except Alice, of course. Alice, whenever you’re ready, whatever you want. ” Mr. Rhinehart must have warned them that according to his THE BEST A YEAR AND A DAY 27 photocopied chapter, I might fall apart in some uncomfortable, Aunt Aggyish way. Instead of taking advantage, I worked harder, handing in reports a day early and studying all night for tests I wouldn’t have cared about before.

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