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After the Wreck, I Picked Myself Up, Spread My Wings, and Flew Away
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After the Wreck, I Picked Myself Up, Spread My Wings, and Flew Away

3.48 of 5 stars 3.48  ·  rating details  ·  1,065 ratings  ·  131 reviews
In the raw was how the world felt now. My feelings were raw, my thoughts were raw and hurtful like knife blades. . . . In the blue had been my place to hide, now In the raw there was nowhere to hide. Jenna Abbott separates her life into two categories: before the wreck and after the wreck, Before the wreck, she was leading a normal life with her mom in suburban New York. A ...more
Hardcover, 292 pages
Published September 1st 2006 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published 2006)
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Whenever I read Joyce Carol Oates I kind of hate myself. It's overly dramatic and a tries a little too hard to be artsy, yet when I finish, I can't stop thinking about it. It's a very haunting quality.
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Jenna Abbott is a high school freshman trying to come to terms with the car accident that killed her mother and sent her to the hospital. Jenna vows that she won't let anyone get close to her again - they always leave her anyway. So when she goes to live with her aunt and uncle in New Hampshire, she pushes her family and former friends away, choosing instead to befriend Trina. Trina, who has many problems of her own, takes Jenna under her wing and introduces her to the world of cutting class, un ...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Sally Kruger, aka "Readingjunky" for

Joyce Carol Oates's new book for teens has a long title and it really does sort of give away the ending. Although, the ending is probably not the most important, rather the journey and its twists and turns.

Jenna is in a tragic accident with her mother on the Tappan Zee Bridge. Her mother and the driver of the other car are killed, leaving Jenna a survivor, but at what cost? The circumstances of the accident are unclear. What Jenna
Marking this three stars is strange, because this is a well crafted book, if not one that you enjoy reading. It's short, and relatively easy to read, though it does take on hefty topics like drug abuse, drinking, and rape. I've read complaints about this book "trying too hard" but I enjoyed the way JCO played with words and structure. It gives the book a duality: flimsy, yet gritty, much like the life of our protagonist after she's involved in a fatal car accident.

I understood Jenna all through
Ina Vainohullu f
Als Jennas Mutter bei einem Autounfall stirbt, wird sie selbst schwer verletzt und findet nur langsam ins Leben zurück. Der Unfall hat Jenna nicht nur körperliche Spuren und den Verlust der Mutter hinterlassen, sondern er hat sie auch psychisch verändert und macht aus einem früher einmal lebensfrohen Mädchen, einen Teenager der in unerreichbare Tiefen rutscht. Sie versinkt in bodenlosem Selbsthass, verliert sich in Schuldgefühlen und kapselt sich immer weiter ab. Sie entzieht sich ihrer Familie ...more
*Spoiler alert for those who have not read the book*

I didn't love this one. The beginning had a nice flow to it, but after a while, the weird writing style got a little annoying to read. I liked how Oates brought up things like drug addiction, distant family members, and peer pressure, and how the whole book dealt with all the basic teenage issues talked about in society today; however, I did feel like a lot of it was a bit cliche and overdone, especially the whole Crow situation (for example, l
This was an interesting book. It was written in a way you might expect a typical 15 year old rebellious girl to be writing - especially should she be anti-social in a way. The entire book caught my attention, and upon finishing it, I realized that... I could relate to everything in it, in a way. I haven't been in any serious car accidents or lost a parent to death per se, but... in another way, I relate, and I'll admit I cried at the end of the book.

It was beautiful. It shows a girl losing hers
Linda Lipko
What is there about this author that clearly wants to drag her stories into the ever darkest abyss?

Jenna is 15 and very close to her mother. Unfortunately on a sunny day while driving over the Tapanzee bridge, Jenna sees an object, commands her mother to stop and perhaps grabs the wheel, causing the car to swerve into the oncoming lane right into a truck.

Neither the driver of the truck or Jenna's mother survive. Badly broken, the story begins with Jenna in the ICU trying to make sense of just wh
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Mrs. Foley
From Destiny library record, "Blaming herself for the car accident on the Tappan Zee Bridge that killed her mother, fifteen-year-old Jenna undergoes a difficult physical and emotional recovery."

I liked it okay, but not as much as Big Mouth, Ugly Girl (also by Oates). I do feel that she did a good job conveying the sense of loss and confusion that a teenager would feel after a wreck like the one in the book. Also, the relief of being "in the blue" that painkillers give shows how tempting drugs ar
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After reading Joyce Carol Oates’s We Were The Mulvaneys , I wanted to read more of her books. Though I had a lots of choices I picked up this one as it was targeted towards Young Adults. I am getting attracted to YA books lately and also because I had heard that this book goes at an amazing speed . Just because it is a fast read doesn’t make it a light read.

I liked the way Jenna’s feelings were portrayed . The guilt about being alive, thought of having to live with her estranged father and his n
Linda Campbell Franklin
Because of Joseph Young the fiction flasher I have got interested in short fiction after years of craving lonnnnnggggg books that never end (like Possession). I'd never seen this book before, although who could know all of Joyce Carol Oates books? I bought it for a quarter at the Pratt library branch at Pennsylvania and North Avenue after teaching there one night. Didn't realize it was a young adult novel.
I gave it a four star instead of 5 star because the Prologue and the first four chapters a
Spoiler Alert

A young adult book, "After the Wreck" is about Jenna, a teenage girl who is in an accident with her mother who is killed. Jenna feels, though she isn't sure, that she may be to blame. Jenna's life begins spiraling out of control"after the wreck" as her loneliness and guilt lead her to make dangerous decisions involving drugs and alcohol abuse.

Refreshingly, this teenage character doesn't blame everyone else in her life for her problems and it's evident she feels powerless to pull her
Jenna Abbott was just a normal girl living a normal life, until the wreck happened. Nothing was the same after the wreck as before it—Jenna’s friends, her home, even her own self. She has been irrevocably changed, whether she likes it, or wants to admit it, or not. She’s really only a shell of the girl she once was, clinging desperately to distant memories of happiness even though she’s on the verge of completely losing it. She can’t trust anyone, can’t let herself trust anyone, even her own fam ...more
This is the first full novel I've read from JCO. I've read a couple of her short stories, and mostly liked them, but this? This showed me that Oates probably doesn't talk to people much (because her dialogue is awful), particularly teenage people (because every other sentence is punctuated with "I guess"). In the prose sections, it was okay, but once she got into the dialogue again, she retained the same flowing rhythm of the text--which nobody uses in speech, particularly high schoolers.

One of the most beautiful and touching novels I have ever read. The whole time I was reading it I felt like I am inside "Jenna", going through the same experiences, having the same feelings and Sympathizing with her. That is all due to the professional and poignant description and genius narration.

I would highly recommend reading this novel for anybody who would like to fly in the blue, go through special feelings and develop a whole new view of life.

Phyllis Lautenschlaeger
A trembling storyteller, but a brave girl, learns......

A tremendous novel. A coming of age story like no other. As she tells her story I am in awe of the fear she walks through. She walks to the other side of the bridge which metaphorically stands for another time when she was the only survivor when her mother veered to the other side of the bridge and crashed. She thinks she is alone in the world until she opens her eyes and 'sees'.
after the wreck was a really good book. In the beginning Jenna has just lost her mom to a car accident and is in a full body cast. she talks about "in the blue" which she thinks are visions where she can just leave the world to find her mom with snow geese. But it turns out in the blue is actually just a drug induced sleep. Jenna learns this as she is slowly taken off her medication. The rest of the story is her struggle of having to move schools, trying to find the right crowd to hang out with, ...more
English Education
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This is probably a testament to how much The Goldfinch stuck with me, but this book has some of the same themes in a YA novel (it was on the adult fiction shelf or my library but I am pretty sure it's a YA book). In both books the main characters lose their mothers to violent deaths that leave them with both profound guilt and grief. The internalized guilt leads to potentially self-destructive choices and how those are resolved (or not) has profound consequences. Good book.
Alex Toney
Though there is no denying her important place in American writing, I have never been a fan of Ms. Oates. I liked her venture into the realm of YA more than I enjoy her fiction, but I still found it mostly unremarkable. After the Wreck reminds me of the YA I read in the 90s. Sometimes in a good way, and sometimes in a bad way. Didn't not like, but wouldn't recommend.
This book was kinda ok at first, but as I kept on reading, I realized that this is a really good book. Jenna Abbott is a teenager who was in a car accident with her mother, but unfortunately only she was the survivor. She separates her life in two categories: before the wreck and after the wreck. Her heart,body,mind and soul becomes hard with grief, distress, lonliness and a isolation that she cannot control. She feels like she cannot trust nor love anyone ever again and that her mom is the only ...more
Jenna can't remember exactly what caused the wreck that killed her mother, but she has an ugly feeling that it was her. The pain medicine during her immediate recovery made it so easy to drift away and forget, but the doctors have cut her off and now she's in New Hampshire, living with her aunt and uncle, going to a new school. Always she is trying to get back that ability to drift away "into the blue" (a phrase she uses ad nauseam, along with "before the wreck" and "after the wreck").

Jenna's n
Kind of a sad book because she goes through so much grief after her mother dies. She closes up and doesn’t want to deal with anyone or anything – even though so many people are trying to help her. I liked the ending, but don’t read this book to cheer yourself up!

Summary: Jenna Abbott, 15, is struggling to come to terms with the car accident that killed her mother and nearly took her own life as well. Formerly athletic and smart, she suddenly finds herself unable to concentrate or communicate wi
Jenna Abbott’s life can be divided into two parts: before the wreck and after the wreck. Before the wreck, she was happily living with her mom and helping her mom survive the divorce. They wore matching sailor caps, and Jenna even ran for the school’s track team.

After the wreck, Jenna is left physically and mentally broken. She sustained such severe injuries that she’s now addicted to painkillers. And she lost her mother in the crash.

Now living with her aunt’s family, it is up to Jenna to start
Quite chaotic book. It's told from the point of view of the main character, Jenna.

Jenna is a mess and very confused the most part of the book, so that the narration in first person is like the one you would find in a diary or directly in her head or at least a mix between thoughts and normal narration. At the beginning I liked that, but somewhere in the middle in the book I began to be annoyed by that style.

There are a lot of metaphors and subtle morals about life and teenager behaviour. The cha
The reader on my audio book was super animated! This is a YA book about a girl who lost her mother in a car crash when they were driving in New York. She of course blames herself. After moving in with her aunt's family, she makes friends with the wrong people. For me, it really showed the importance of teachers and friends in a young person's life. She gets involved with drugs. Somehow she manages to keep her grades up thanks to some caring teachers who see her suffering and want to help. At the ...more
Jun 21, 2015 luscious rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Al
"'See, people come into your life for a reason. They might not know it themselves, why. You might not know it. But there's a reason. There has to be.'" (p. 136)

While this is a youth adult novel, I enjoyed it very much.
A kindred soul gave it to me and it struck a chord with me on 2 levels: firstly, I recognised the pain and anguish one feels after an accident, as I was hit by a car aged 12 and remained hospitalised for 9 weeks.
Secondly, there's the loss of the mother that makes your entire worl
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Joyce Carol Oates is a recipient of the National Book Award and the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction. She is also the recipient of the 2005 Prix Femina for The Falls. She is the Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Princeton University, and she has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters since 1978. Pseudonyms ... Rosamond Smith and Laure ...more
More about Joyce Carol Oates...
We Were the Mulvaneys The Falls The Gravedigger's Daughter Blonde Foxfire: Confessions of a Girl Gang

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“See, people come into your life for a reason. They might not know it themselves, why. You might not know it. But there's a reason. There has to be” 175 likes
“Cherie, keep walking. Shut your eyes. We are headed for the bridge. We are going to cross it.” 11 likes
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