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381 pages, Paperback
First published January 27, 2015
"Why can't I be a normal girl who doesn't know what spent gunpowder smells like? Why can't I just...dick around on Facebook and chase after boys and...I dunno, just quit stirring up the shit?"
"Like she’s a poisonous toad or toxic jellyfish—interesting to look at, but for God’s sake, do not touch."
What is this?” Mrs. Lewis asks. The woman’s got some mean eyebrows. Like two fuzzy caterpillar lovers, straining to reach one another, trying to make out. Now those furry brows are scrunched up tight.
“You heard me.”
“It’s my paper,” Atlanta says with some authority. Because, duh, it is.
“It’s one page.”
“Thank you. Yes.”
“I asked for a seven-page paper.”
Atlanta blinks. “Yeah. I know. And mine’s one page.”
“Do you remember how you ended the paper?” Mrs. Lewis asks. “Do you remember how you reached the conclusion that resolves your thesis?”
Atlanta does remember. But she just shrugs instead, lets the teacher talk through it.
“This one sentence just . . . trails off and the ending is replaced by ‘blah blah blah.’”
“I thought it was a nice commentary on the futility of collecting information and, uhh, synthesizing, ummm. Thought patterns.” Atlanta nods, having settled that. “Yeah. Synthesizing thought patterns."
"They don't ask, How do we stop bullies? Instead those assholes say, How can we get these stupid kids to stop painting bull's-eyes on their foreheads? They put the blame on the victims, not the victimizers."
She's tired. Bedraggled. All parts of her feel like a paper cut with lemon juice squeezed over it.
She can't help it, but she laughs. It's not that she thinks dead murdered dogs are funny--but her brain concocts a really weird version of the board game Clue where a bunch of uppity rich white folks chase terriers and retrievers around a mansion with various found weapons. It was Colonel Mustard who killed the Yorkie. In the kitchen. With a rubber doggy bone!
It's hard realizing your parent is just another crazy, screwed up human being. Just like everyone else ever.