working with available light – a family s world after violence

In Little Green, Loretta Stinson’s stunning, redemptive first novel, tragedy leaves Janie Marek orphaned and in the care of her stepmother. The novel opens two years later, in 1976, when Janie, at fourteen, runs away. A ride she’s hitchhiked leaves her on the freeway outside a Northwestern town. A strip club called The Habit is the closest thing within walking distance, and Janie finds herself working there. Janie falls for Paul Jesse, a drug dealer, and moves in with him as he spirals into addiction and becomes physically abusive. As the violence escalates, Janie finds a job in a bookstore and begins to establish her independence. Leaving Paul after a brutal beating, Janie must reconcile their relationship and make the most difficult, most dangerous choice she’ll ever make.Like Dorothy Allison’s Bastard Out of Carolina and Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, Loretta Stinson portrays the psychology of a woman who has experienced violence at the hands of someone she loves and the complexity of leaving with sensitivity and insight. This is a life-affirming story about a woman who finds strength in books, in the promise of education, and in the community of friends who help her find a way out.



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