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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

3.46  ·  Rating Details ·  1,204 Ratings  ·  147 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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Feb 19, 2008 Kelly rated it really liked it
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.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 12, 2007 Erin rated it really liked it
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
Aug 13, 2013 Mari rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 25, 2015 Fanny rated it did not like it
Jag kunde inte hjälpa det. När jag börjat läsa en bok (och i det här fallet kommit nästan halvvägs) måste jag avsluta den.
Ina Vainohullu f
Jul 08, 2015 Ina Vainohullu f rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Frances Coles
Dec 06, 2016 Frances Coles rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sort of peculiarly, I read this book in French. It was a good book to read in French - for an intermediate-level French speaker, at any rate - for a number of reasons. First off, the language is fairly simple, and also repetitive; I believe that you could use the word "incantatory" if that were not a sort of pretentious word to use. But it is often a little bit like a song lyric, and for a reason - it is echoing, or evoking, the narrator's obsessive, lonely, dreamy emotional state. The narrator, ...more
May 06, 2010 Leslie rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 26, 2008 Rachael rated it it was amazing
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
Tranna Foley
Jun 24, 2009 Tranna Foley rated it it was ok
Shelves: hickman
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
Feb 11, 2015 Leah rated it it was ok
*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
Sep 20, 2016 Alyson rated it really liked it
Linda Lipko
Sep 17, 2014 Linda Lipko rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
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
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
Ell Eastwood
I enjoyed this a lot. It's a good book about dealing with grief and also about running, and we all know I love to read about running, so obv that would stick with me.

Honestly, I think it would've been five stars if the dude hadn't sorta solved everything for some weird reason (why?) and then everything became fine because he helped her. I liked how she was "fixed", I just didn't like that it was him basically forcing her to do it.

But it's no Jag lever, tror jag ;)
Apr 27, 2009 Celestasaurus rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 21, 2009 Shonali rated it really liked it
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
Feb 25, 2010 Carrie rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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.

Sep 10, 2016 Apoorva rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
Didnt know JCO wrote YA lit, before this. Pretty good but not heart-wrenching or anything. A quick read though, helped me feel productive on a long Metro ride.
Apr 13, 2008 Jeanne rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
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
Dec 09, 2007 Kricket rated it liked it
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
Jan 04, 2008 Naomi rated it liked it
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
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
Apr 26, 2008 Kerri rated it liked it
Shelves: girl-books
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
May 25, 2011 Afton rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 01, 2014 A rated it really liked it
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
Oct 09, 2015 luscious rated it really liked it  ·  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
Carol Waters
Aug 30, 2015 Carol Waters rated it liked it
A Good Man is Hard to Find will always be one of my favorite short stories. This little novelette not so much.

I hadn't realized that Oates was getting into young adult fiction. Maybe it was the book's smaller size- clumsy in the hand- that did me in. The story is about a 15 year old girl whose mother died in a car accident that may or may not have been the kid's fault.

The problem with writing with an adolescent voice is that no matter what they think they know adolescents aren't very good at be
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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
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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” 180 likes
“Cherie, keep walking. Shut your eyes. We are headed for the bridge. We are going to cross it.” 12 likes
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