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Blame
Huneven, Michelle
Adult Fiction HUNEVEN

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From Publishers' Weekly:

In this gripping tale, Huneven charts the parameters of guilt and how a young, wisecracking intellectual becomes a shadow of her former self. Patsy MacLemoore, a boozy history professor, is helping her boyfriend, Brice, take care of his niece, Joey, whose mother is undergoing cancer treatment. But when Patsy goes on a bender and emerges from a drunken blackout in jail, she learns she's accused of having run down a mother and daughter in her driveway. After her conviction, Patsy transforms from free spirit into a convict, and Huneven deftly underscores the bizarre trajectory Patsy's life has taken. In a prison AA group, Patsy seeks redemption and meaning; she also develops a relationship with the man whose wife and daughter she killed and helps put his son through school, stays the course after her release and maintains a friendship with Brice and Joey. Brilliant observations, excellent characters, spiffy dialogue and a clever plot keep readers hooked, and the final twist turns Patsy's new life on its ear. Huneven's exploration of misdeeds real and imagined is humane, insightful and beautiful. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

In 1981, Patsy MacLemoore is a smart, functioning alcoholic. A professor at Hallen College in Altadena, CA, she is known for loud and lascivious behavior at faculty parties and for missing the occasional class after a night of drinking and taking pills. When Patsy, who has a suspended license, is arrested and jailed for hitting and killing a mother and daughter-both Jehovah's Witnesses-in her driveway, she doesn't remember the accident. After two years in prison, Patsy quits drinking, eventually returning to her old job but not her old ways. Patsy's sober life is carefully unfurled-new connections forged, old relationships changed, a constant background of remorse and shame-but the book's promotional copy somewhat spoils this talented author's (Jamesland) carefully nuanced, sharply focused narrative by trumpeting a plot twist that isn't even hinted at before page 220. Verdict Recommended to readers who enjoy literary novels like Sue Miller's Lost in the Forest and Laura Moriarty's The Rest of Her Life that examine how a tragic accident irrevocably changes life's course. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 5/15/09.]-Laurie A. Cavanaugh, Brockton P.L., MA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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