- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (February 8, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0393245705
- ISBN-13: 978-0393245707
- Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.1 x 8.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #408,169 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Piece of Mind: A Novel Hardcover – February 8, 2016
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“Lucy, the endearing narrator of this moving novel, was left brain-damaged after being hit by a truck when she was 3. When her father dies 24 years later, she struggles to survive on her own, find her place in the world and summon the courage to pursue her dreams. With simplicity and humor, her story testifies to the fierce, universal human need for expression.” (People)
“As much about the bond between siblings as about traumatic brain injury.” (Boston Globe)
“Arresting....smart, honest and funny.” (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
“A delightful page-turner packed full of warmth, humor, and bubbling, sparkling joy.” (The National Book Review)
“Adelman beautifully conveys Lucy's idiosyncratic voice and outlook on the world...[Adelman] resists pat, too-easy endings, and instead focuses on realistically depicting Lucy's strengths and weaknesses, humor, failings and tentative steps toward believing in her own capabilities.” (Bookreporter)
“A moving story of grief, resilience, and self-actualization…Adelman fully inhabits Lucy’s voice, and the resulting tale is as realistic as it is uplifting.” (Publisher's Weekly (starred review))
“Lucy’s narrative is sensitive, witty, and illuminating…excellently draw. Her journey and the evolution of her relationships offer a rare glance at the unknowable.” (Library Journal (starred review))
“Piece of Mind is such a beautiful debut, one that will indelibly imprint the reader with Lucy’s unique voice and vision. She channels the raw states of grief and joy and bewilderment with such a pure-hearted intensity. Her New York is a flickery frontier, exciting and scary, where she toggles between states of numbness and excruciating sensitivity. Michelle Adelman is so articulate about what we know and cannot say, what we can barely stand to know, and what we bravely face each day as individuals in families, together and alone.” (Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia!)
“Piece of Mind is compulsively readable, built around a set of relatable, engaging characters and a compelling central problem for its protagonist.” (Liz Moore, author of Heft)
“From the first page of Piece of Mind, I fell in love with Lucy, its quirky, brave, funny heroine. And that feeling grew as she navigates her changing, often confusing, world. Michelle Adelman has created an unforgettable character and an unforgettable story.” (Ann Hood, author of An Italian Wife and The Knitting Circle)
“Like the Tourettes-ticcing Lionel Essrog in Jonathan Lethem's Motherless Brooklyn, or the obsessive-compulsive Mona Gray in Aimee Bender's An Invisible Sign of My Own, Michelle Adelman's heroine―and she definitely is that―travels a path that is by nature solitary, yet intersects with all that is best in ourselves. I hope you'll root for Lucy's success as much as I do.” (Helene Wecker, author of The Golem and the Jinni)
“Piece of Mind is animated by sense and innocence. Michelle Adelman has written a truly charming novel full of humor and warmth. Sex and drugs and polar bears abound.” (Cathleen Schine, author of Fin and Lady and The Three Weissmanns of Westport)
About the Author
Michelle Adelman has an MFA in Writing from Columbia University, and BS and MS degrees in Journalism from Northwestern University. Her work has appeared in Bustle, Fiction Writers Review, Extract(s), and elsewhere. She lives in San Diego.
Top Customer Reviews
For most of her life, Lucy has been coping by relying very heavily (I would say too heavily) on her father. But when he dies unexpectedly, she is forced to uproot her mostly stable life to go live with her younger brother in his small apartment in New York City. Most of the book focuses on how the two of them struggle to adjust to their new realities. Both have to put their hopes for the future on hold while they pursue more practical matters like, you know, paying rent and buying food. And they also have to learn how to deal with each other now that they are assuming drastically different roles: Lucy's brother becomes her caretaker, of sorts--and he does a pretty good job of it, all things considered--but since he can't possibly mimic the codependent relationship Lucy had with her father, Lucy is forced to push herself, to grow and to learn new things.
Despite the fact that Adelman covers some weighty topics here, the book actually stays very light, and only rarely delves beneath the surface. People die, there is relationship drama, and the book doesn't even have a particularly happy ending...but it all still feels like fluff. The characters feel pain, sure, but nothing unbearable; even in their darkest moments, they still see color.
I commend Adelman for coming up with a unique story (from her acknowledgements section, it sounds like her sister may have been at least part of her inspiration for the character of Lucy). But I do think she could have gone deeper with the characters to really bring them to life. As is, Piece of Mind is perfectly fine, but nothing fantastic. I think there was potential here for something great, though, so even though the book was enjoyable enough, I couldn't help but feel disappointed.
She is very astute, as some brain damaged people are and does have a high level of cognition for some things, but lacks in others. In that respect it is realistic.
Lucy tells her story and day by day her experiences, she matures in the short time after her father’s death and her move into a tiny apartment with her brother. It is a huge life change for both. We really only see her brother through Lucy’s eyes. It would have been interesting to see his thoughts on occasion.
We read of the many problems which Lucy faces. It does make a reader think and realize the effects of brain injuries which at first one might not realize.
It’s a novel that can draw the reader in to a life and personality that one does not read of very often. Those who wish to learn some of that would do well to read it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
You know the plot: 27-year-old has brain damage from getting hit by a truck at age 3; supportive mom dies when she...Read more