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Married at Fourteen: A True Story Paperback – October 1, 2012
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--Herbert Gold, author of Fathers: A Novel in the Form of a Memoir
''Told with self-lacerating honesty and unvarnished prose that rises on command to poetic intensity...[Day's] autobiographical quest, an anguished yet often touching family chronicle spanning three generations, transports the narrator across badlands of emotional chaos on her improbable route to domestic serenity and high accomplishments in both the arts and sciences.''
--Richard Kluger, Pulitzer Prize winning author of Ashes to Ashes
''Day's memoir proves that truth isn't just stranger than fiction, it can be astonishing. The author went from teenage wild child and biker chick to prize-winning poet and holder of four advanced degrees. The mature Lucy writes about this unlikely trajectory with clarity, wit, and affection for her younger self, a fourteen-year-old child bride and a disaster waiting to happen. You won't find a more likable voice on the page, or a tale with a more satisfying ending. Parents of teenage forces of nature, take heart.''
--Cyra McFadden, author of The Serial: A Year in the Life of Marin County
''Married at Fourteen catches a social class that is uniquely American but resonates with what I know of working people worldwide. Although the rebellion against mothers is universal, Day carries it to a new extreme. And yet the tone is calm, upbeat, and humorous, and she emerges a confident, strong woman whose values are tested and clarified in this exceptional memoir.''
--Leo Litwak, author of The Medic: Life and Death in the Last Days of WWII
''The saga Married at Fourteen is many things: both a cautionary tale and a tale of redemption, a multigenerational account of the passing of an era, a parable of the Prodigal Daughter, a gripping narrative rendered from a tenacious memory, a scientist's precision, and an artist's sensitivity. Parents should read this book, teachers and counselors, dreamers and seekers, anyone who wants to read a book that once you pick up you'll find hard to put down. While you will not condone all of Lucille Lang Day's actions--she does not expect you to--you will understand, sympathize, and perhaps sometimes see yourself more clearly.''
--Adam David Miller, winner of PEN/Oakland's Josephine Miles National Literary Award for 2011 Lifetime Achievement and author of Ticket to Exile
''An honest and engaging memoir about a spirited woman who always knew what she wanted, even when--especially when--it was bad for her. Lucille Lang Day's successful quest for fulfillment in romance, marriage, motherhood, education, and career makes a fascinating read.''
--Molly Giles, author of Iron Shoes
''Day gives eloquent voice to the teenager she once was--precocious, beautiful, hungry for love and adventure, disrespectful of conventions, adept at getting into serious trouble. Her memoir is sexy, funny and endearingly honest...It challenges the conventional wisdom that a teenage mom and dropout has no future and reminds us that rebellious kids who defy authority may become--as has Day--the innovators and creators that our culture needs.'' --Naomi Ruth Lowinsky, Ph.D., M.F.T., author of The Motherline
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
Robert J. Seidman, author of the forthcoming "Moments Captured," Overlook Press, Nov. 2012
Yet the intensely personal story that Day tells is set against a backdrop of chaotic social change and rebellion. This breakdown of convention was no doubt a catalyst for some of her life choices that pushed the boundaries for young women.
I found myself walking in Day's shoes at times, being young at the same time and place. When that occurred, I felt my own "wildness" validated through her calm exposition. Some of my random shared experiences were: riding on a Harley with a biker in the Oakland hill climbs and getting a scar on my leg from the exhaust pipe, yet loving the exhilaration while barely avoiding a brush with danger from the Hell's Angels; participating in student protests at UC-Berkeley and observing the routine brick throwing; driving to Minden, Nevada, to be married by the Justice of the Peace to my third husband; dealing with stalking and domestic violence; and ultimately finding my own voice as a storyteller.
Through Day's eyes, I could reclaim my past as she unflinchingly chronicles hers. When she writes of the difficult consequences of her flawed decisions, I could identify with my own failed marriages, untenable relationships, and mistakes in judgment.
I am grateful for this book of Days! In reading her affirming memoir, I've come to know an authentic woman of our shared era and have learned to accept my own unconventional life of trial and error as worthwhile--certainly worth a good story!
Photographs strategically placed throughout the memoir show a movie-star-lovely Lucille posing with dangerously handsome oh-so-bad boys. We clearly see what she saw. This is the story she begins with, unfolding in an upbeat, sometimes humorous, sometimes bittersweet manner, but always with a girlish sweetness spiking her brutal honesty.
It is also the story that flaunts conventional thinking that cautions against any good coming out of such an unconventional start. We learn that Lucille does, in fact, return to school to achieve high accreditation in arts and sciences and does, in fact, find true love with a gifted writer.
What I especially liked about this absorbing memoir was the transformation of Lucille's almost obsessive rebellion against her mother. As the author matures, she understands and accepts the fact that her mother loved her in her own way, a bit of a strange way, but nevertheless, it was love. And a most satisfying post-ending is achieved, as she too shares her experiences with her own daughters' contrariness.
I was amazed at her recollection of minor details of those times, of what songs were popular, what color lipsticks worn, the descriptions of the boys and girls and what they wore, ate, smoked. . then I realized, ah hah, Lucille Lang Day admits to having an extraordinary ability to memorize (a photographic memory?) and this is to the benefit of memoir writing at its most entertaining.
Antoinette Constable's Review:
MARRIED AT FOURTEEN,
A true story, by Lucille Lang Day
The first line of this memoir, " I own a switch blade,' sets the tone for most a of this book.
Truant and associating with the worse elements in and around school, Lucille Lang finds herself in Juvenile Hall, unable to forgive her mother's "yelling, spanking and lies." Relentlessly, the author tells us almost more than we care to know- though we can't put the book down- about her destructive behavior, in which we easily discern more than flashes of intelligence.
What would have happened, we wonder, had this willful girl been understood and helped by her parents? Her father, who believed in her intelligence, took almost no part in her upbringing. His influence was insufficient for his daughter to grow up with an ordinary dose of teenage angst and rebelliousness.
It's both refreshing and surprising to find out that, naively- but who's not naive at twelve?--Lucille believes that marriage and motherhood are the keys to the freedom which adults possess, even though she knows that her parents relationship is not good. She's a willful, directionless girl who buys into the fairy-tales message that the fair prince will come and rescue her, after which they both will live happily ever after. Just the ticket for a young girl who urgently yearns to leave childhood behind. She finds herself, a teenager, the mother of two little girls
When her male relationships or marriages don't work, she concludes that she'd picked the wrong candidate.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It is an ancient trope: the child feels that she (or he) has been somehow placed in the wrong household, that the very fiber of her soul is finer than the coarse stuff comprising... Read morePublished on February 25, 2014 by Claire Ortalda
Lucille Lang Day’s remarkable memoir, Married At Fourteen, is a breathtaking page-turner that will (Warning!) keep you reading far into the night. Read morePublished on January 24, 2014 by Belden Johnson
Bought this for a book club read and stopped reading about 50 pages into the book. It was so childishly written I had to stop. Thebook club members felt the same way. Read morePublished on January 21, 2014 by D. Vita
Book Review: Married at Fourteen by Lucille Day
I highly recommend Lucille Lang Day’s novel, Married at Fourteen. Read more
This is an autobiography about a girl who wanted to get married and was boy crazy early on. She wanted to get away from her mother, but as time goes on she learns so much more... Read morePublished on November 29, 2013 by Justice Pirate
The first few chapters were hard for me to read because the author gave detailed information of a young undisciplined life, and her hate for her mother. Read morePublished on November 15, 2013 by Eléna Martina
Married at Fourteen is a surprisingly good read, an honest account of mistakes made during a strange time in America. Read morePublished on April 30, 2013 by Patti T.
I had been looking for this kind of story (memoir) for a long time. I'm glad I read Married at Fourteen; it relates a story that's believable and authentic. Read morePublished on April 25, 2013 by Elisa Del Rey