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The Rest of Her Life
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The Rest of Her Life
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In The Rest of Her Life, Laura Moriarty delivers a luminous, compassionate, and provocative look at how mothers and daughters with the best intentions can be blind to the harm they do to one...
In The Rest of Her Life, Laura Moriarty delivers a luminous, compassionate, and provocative look at how mothers and daughters with the best intentions can be blind to the harm they do to one...
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  • In The Rest of Her Life, Laura Moriarty delivers a luminous, compassionate, and provocative look at how mothers and daughters with the best intentions can be blind to the harm they do to one another.

    Leigh is the mother of high-achieving, popular high school senior Kara. Their relationship is already strained for reasons Leigh does not fully understand when, in a moment of carelessness, Kara makes a mistake that ends in tragedy — the effects of which not only divide Leigh's family, but polarize the entire community. We see the story from Leigh's perspective, as she grapples with the hard reality of what her daughter has done and the devastating consequences her actions have on the family of another teenage girl in town, all while struggling to protect Kara in the face of rising public outcry.

    Like the best works of Jane Hamilton, Jodi Picoult, and Alice Sebold, Laura Moriarty's The Rest of Her Life is a novel of complex moral dilemma, filled with nuanced characters and a page-turning plot that makes readers ask themselves, "What would I do"

About the Author-

  • Laura Moriarty received her master's degree from the University of Kansas and was awarded the George Bennett Fellowship for Creative Writing at Phillips Exeter Academy. She is the author of The Center of Everything. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    June 11, 2007
    Moriarty's follow-up to book-group favorite The Center of Everything
    again explores a tense, fragile mother-daughter relationship, this time finding sharper edges where personal history and parenting meet. Now a junior high school English teacher married to a college professor, Leigh has spent much of her adult life trying to distance herself from her dysfunctional childhood. Raising their two children in a small, safe Kansas town not far from where Leigh and her troubled sister, Pam, were raised by their single mother, Leigh finds her good fortune still somewhat empty. Daughter Kara, 18 and a high school senior, is distant; sensitive younger son Justin is unpopular; Leigh can't seem to reach either—Kara in particular sees Leigh (rightly) as self-absorbed. When Kara accidentally hits and kills another high school girl with the family's car, Leigh is forced to confront her troubled relationship with her daughter, her resentment toward her husband (who understands Kara better) and her long-buried angst about her own neglectful mother. The intriguing supporting characters are limited by not-very-likable Leigh's POV, but Moriarty effectively conveys Leigh's longing for escape and wariness of reckoning.

  • Library Journal

    July 1, 2007
    At the end of the school year, Leigh Churchillwife, mother, and schoolteachercomes home to a nightmare. Her family is huddled together in shock; 18-year-old Kara has just run over and killed another teenager. In a moment of catastrophic inattention, what "happens to someone else" has now become their headline. Moriarty spares her readers nothing, showing us that for anyone in this situation the agonizing process of getting from one moment to the next is overwhelming. The law, surprisingly light in this case, provides some relief for Kara and her family yet can offer no protection against the loss of familiar comforts. Friendships, reliable marriage, the family's place in the community, unrelenting guiltall are thoroughly dissected under the harsh light of tragedy. Moriarty ("The Center of Everything") is a blunt, honest scout. She strips away the detritus of deceit, leaving behind the unavoidable truth that follows such eventslife never will be the same and only hard work may make it worth living. Strongly recommended.Beth E. Andersen, Ann Arbor Dist. Lib., MI

    Copyright 2007 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    July 1, 2007
    Moriarty, author of The Center of Everything (2003), limns the aftermath of a family tragedy. Kara Churchill, 18, is driving with a friend and talking on her phone when she blows through a stop sign and strikes a classmate, killing her instantly. Kara retreats into herself, baffling and upsetting her mother, Leigh, who cantfind a way to reach her. Leighs own mother abandoned Leigh at age 16 when she abruptly tookoff for California to live her own life, and Leighs sister has moved from one bad relationship to another, so there are reasons Leigh has difficulties relating to her privileged, popular daughter. Moriarty avoids the twists readers expectan outraged community and a lurid trialto focus instead on the internal workings of the Churchill family and their shock and grief in the days following the girls death. Leigh in particular wonders how her daughter will move on beyond theaccident that will haunt her for the remainder of her days. Powerful, original, and utterly absorbing, Moriartys novel will stay with the reader long after the final page is turned.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2007, American Library Association.)

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