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Chapter One: Janey Kindle Edition

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Length: 24 pages

Sing for Us
Historical Fiction
Based on a true story, Sing for Us is a riveting tale of love and hope in the last days of the Civil War. Learn more

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Mary Catherine was the first child born to Jimmy and Peg Owens and the 48th grandchild on her father's side. She grew up in Charlestown, Massachusetts alongside her brother James Michael (Jim), her almost brother Jimmy B. (kinda long story there, but yes, seriously) and many other foster children that her parents took in over the years and whose names she couldn't even begin to remember at this point in life, never mind list, as there were more than 600 of them. She also grew up amongst many, many cousins and close friends. 

From a young age, she knew that she was destined for bigger things - as she regularly got her ass kicked and was a firm believer in karma. Her ass kickers (before they morphed into ass kickees) were both the foster kids that lived at her house and the Townie children who referred to the foster kids as her parents' "rent-a-kids." Outside of that, life was grand.

The author is known as 'Mary Catherine' only by those who knew her back then. She used to despise the name, but has grown to miss it. And as this book is about memories (real and imagined), she felt it fitting to use that name here. She kind of likes it now. As a pen name only.

These days, she lives just outside of San Francisco with her ex-Merchant Marine Captain husband, Tim, her fantastic beyond imagination son, Tadhg, and numerous pets. And she writes "to make you see" - but you can learn more about that on her website.

Product Details

  • File Size: 96 KB
  • Print Length: 24 pages
  • Publication Date: July 7, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008ITBHN4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,539,596 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

I'm a writer, mom (to a fantabulous son and many pets) and married to a man who doesn't mind being listed last . . . most days.

Growing up in Charlestown, I never knew I was poor - because I wasn't really. No, this isn't a sappy "I didn't know because we were rich with love" explanation. Please. My parents were fantastic, don't get me wrong - and I was a happy kid, but my paycheck is still a few zeros short of me spouting that sort of nonsense.

I didn't know I was poor because compared to other families I had it pretty good. My father worked for the T and my mother was a foster parent, and combined they brought home a decent living. I don't remember ever wanting for anything.

But years later, when I went to college, I was truly shocked to learn that I was solidly in what is called the "lower class." Call it naïve, but I really thought that distinction applied to people completely down and out and begging on the street. Weren't they that entitled, uneducated, perpetually lazy group of people I'd heard about?

Yeah, they were. And "they" were talking about me. And I was pissed. And I've been pretty pissed about it ever since. Even writing about it right now pisses me off. I really need to get over it, I know. Yet, I can't.

Why? Because I now find myself in a very awkward position, where I'm pretty constantly surrounded by people who grew up learning the same class distinctions, but were in an entirely different class - and they assume I'm one of them. And I guess I am now, in part. But a larger part, the part that makes me who I am, is very separate from them and unable to relate because I feel like although I can see them, they can't see me.

They don't see that where I grew up (to Townies, Newtowne - to outsiders, generalized as the projects) there was a network of tough, loving adults who watched after their neighbors' kids just as fiercely as their own. They don't see parents working two jobs and still up at 6 am on the weekends to coach Pop Warner. And they can't imagine groups of adults sitting out late on a summer night and having a few drinks, while 30+ neighborhood kids play kick the can, as anything other than loud and scandalous. But it was the most fantastic, safest environment a kid could ever hope for - and brings to mind some of the best memories I have.

The Charlestown I grew up in was something to write stories about. Not fairy tales, but real stories that acknowledge the hardships while showing the strength, the humor and the heart.

And that's what I've set out to do, in this in-your-face series of interconnected short stories based in Charlestown, called Chapter One.

So please check them out and let me know what you think!

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Faith Marlow on August 16, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Janey is not someone most people would go out of their way to say hello to. Safe to say, some might go out of their way to stay away from her. Everyone has saw a girl like Janey, walking down the street, in line at the grocery store, waiting for the bus, and (consciously or not) everyone has passed judgment on her. She looks like a dopehead. She should wash her hair. Where are her parents? Rarely does anyone stop to think of her circumstances, that her situation may not be all her fault. When you read Chapter One: Janey, you will look at this girl differently.

Janey lives with her brothers, Michael and Dennis. She may not tell them, but they are her world. She loves them fiercely and has fought against the odds to keep them close to her. Living with Janey and the boys is the tough-loving Nana Audrey. She is a leathered, tough as nails senior that lives her life as she pleases, younger than her sixty-eight years. By contrast, Janey is much older than her age. Their common factor is their love of their family and a fear of failing it. Strangled by drug addiction, Janey feels she has already failed. Audrey knows better and is intent on showing Janey what a strong young woman she actually is.

Mary Catherine has given us a look into a family that many of us may not be familiar with in a strong, unapologetic voice and challenges the reader to see it for the sum of its parts, not simply to point out the flaws of its fractured members. It is a family on the edge of destruction, but not beyond hope. I found myself looking for Chapter Two, wishing to travel a little further with Janey, hoping to see the Phoenix rise from the ashes. Mary Catherine has a wonderful platform from which to expand her story into a full novel and I will be keeping a close eye out for it. You should too.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kim Niemi Davidson on August 1, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Those who grew up in or near Charlestown, MA will appreciate Catherine's knowledge of the area, and the way it influences how she paints Janey's life and attitude. Her writing style is in-your-face, yet accessible, and the story demands attention. From the first paragraph she draws you in and doesn't let up for a second, weaving together character details, isolated moments, and plot points expertly. Reaching the end will have you screaming, "Where is Chapter Two?!"
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer on August 1, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Brilliantly written, emotionally captivating. The story of Janey is compelling and provoking. I love how conflicted the character is, you feel as if she wants to do the right thing, but addiction and anger fuel her. You can see how she loves her brothers and respects her grandmother despite the words she uses with the older relative. Loved every word of this story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M. DelGaudio on July 17, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
"Tough chick" is certainly a great description of Janey, and luckily she has a tough chick stepping in to kick her in the butt and steer her in the right direction (hopefully!). What an awesome Chapter One. Real life specific details help you to clearly visualize the story. I couldn't put it down and definitely can't wait for more. I'll certainly be purchasing additional chapters as they come (hopefully quickly!). I wholeheartedly recommend!
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By S. R. Hartkopf on February 12, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Mary Catherine inserts you into the scene immediately and her characters are vivid. If you enjoy good writing you'll enjoy this brief read.

My only complaint is I wanted to read more. What happens next?

As criticisms go, I suppose that's about as good as it gets.
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