Bridget Bufford designs edible landscapes for the Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture and leads creative writing workshops using the Amherst Writers & Artists Method. She has worked in the field of developmental disability in public schools, institutions, homes, and a therapeutic horseback riding center, thereby concluding that people are interesting, but plants are less stressful.
Cemetery Bird, a Pushcart Prize nominee, is the story of a US Forest Service Hotshot who gets injured in service and subsequently becomes a caretaker for her nephew, a minimally verbal teen with autism. Her novel Minus One: A Twelve-Step Journey was short-listed for a Lambda Literary Award.
Short works have appeared in The Use of Personal Narratives in the Helping Professions, Romance for LIFE, Pillow Talk II, Body Check, and Writing Alone & With Others.
I found this novel completely absorbing, moving and satisfying. The protagonist Terry is a wonderful character--full of life and passion as well as confusion and delusion. You will root for Terry as she feels her way to sobriety and to a new understanding of herself as a friend and lover, and to a role for herself in the greater world that does not require her to compromise who she is at her core. The epigraphs "Overheard at an AA Meeting" that open each chapter are witty and true, and provide a quick orientation to that culture for the uninitiated. Bridget Bufford brings home forcefully what it means for Terry to give up drinking, that it is like giving up the part of herself that she most likes. The fact that her drinking has been so connected with her love and sex life makes it all the harder. The phone call Terry makes to Evelyn in the middle of the date with Holly in Chapter 4, where she is dismayed when she starts to cry, is incredibly moving; I cried right along with Terry. I also found Terry's reaction when she starts doing her inventory and finds some of the smaller stuff the most embarrassing and difficult to own up to illuminating and true. We've all experienced, in some form or another, the sense that the small stuff IS small, but significant nonetheless.The supporting characters are superbly drawn. Straight, up-tight, middle-class Laura, Terry's first sponsor, is a case in point. So is Holly, who is attracted to Terry but not at heart a lesbian. Bufford's portraits of both these women are nuanced and free of caricature or malice.Read more ›
It was hard to put down this powerful and moving book. From the first page it grabbed my attention and I was riveted. For a first novel, it was extremely well written and pulled you in to its subject material. Highly Recommended
Stubborn, angry, and fresh out of treatment, Terry Manescu moves in with her friend, Angela, who takes her in provided Terry stays sober and contributes to the household. Terry at first doesn't realize the depths of her own pain and is facing a lot more problems than she can imagine fixing. She's got intelligence and guts going for her, but she's also got an attitude which has not entirely changed even with treatment and AA attendance. "Everyone with more sobriety than me thinks that they know what's best for me. AA is a conspiracy to rob me of my individuality and my intellect" (p. 14). She says this halfway tongue in cheek, even while at some level, Terry knows that she must change. She just isn't entirely sure how to go about it.Though only 26, Terry has already been through a lot in her life. Through her own drunken rage, she lost the love of her life. She's got issues with her family, some of which are because she's lesbian, but also because she was such a wild girl, and her connections with her brothers and parents have been affected by all the lies and failures. She flunked out of school, ran with a fast crowd, and did a lot of risky things. She knows the addiction to drugs and alcohol is terrible for her health and well-being, but she for a long time she kids herself whenever her shortcomings become apparent to others or to her. "These insinuations about my ego just chap my ass," (p. 31) she says early on. This first-person narrator has got a comic voice at times, and the story she tells is, by turns, very funny and very heartbreaking. It takes a long time and quite a number of mistakes before Terry starts to get her head on straight.Read more ›
Bridget Bufford's novel, Minus One, is an engaging story, an interesting window into the world of addiction, and a touching story of redemption. From the moment I started reading it, I had a hard time putting it down. I pulled so much for Terry, the protagonist, that I had to remind myself that I was reading a novel, rather than a memoir. I'd recommend this to anyone looking for insight into addiction and recovery, but the story is about so much more than that.
Also, Bufford does a great job of capturing the landmarks and culture of St. Louis. It's wonderful to read a novel that showcases the best of the Midwest.