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Book details
  • Genre:FICTION
  • SubGenre:Literary
  • Language:English
  • Pages:164
  • eBook ISBN:9780983734819


by Joan Hawkins

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A moving and often harrowing account of one young woman's struggle against her childhood demons, "Bailey" explores the idea of self, and how the psyche can lose its way in a labyrinth of memory, fear and desire. Confined in an asylum, Bailey seeks to emerge from a hazy, tormented existence in which the only solid entity is Jim, her fellow inmate. The problem is that Jim is a creature as haunted as Bailey herself, and their respective pasts cloud a secret that makes their friendship more than a chance encounter. The struggle of Bailey to recover her belief in the goodness of the child she’d been and the growing certainty that Jim Peabody was the hero of her childhood provides the momentum of the story. With its themes of social snobbery, family dysfunction and ultimate redemption, Bailey is a passionate, daring novel that reveals the underbelly of a society that presents itself as the epitome of respectability.
Bailey: at just ten years old, she shot her mother’s lover, Dr. Peabody, rescuing her from a savage beating. Although traumatizing the girl, the incident was never reported due to the doctor’s social prominence, and it became submerged in family silence. The child’s subsequent heavy drinking drowned the memory until she was fourteen, and became the youngest alcoholic ever admitted to Stockbridge, an exclusive rehabilitation center. At Stockbridge, Bailey meets Jim Peabody, the twenty-year-old son of the famous doctor. Both suffer from alcoholic amnesia and become acquainted as though for the first time, despite the fact that Bailey had fallen in love with Jim as a child, while he was going out with her older sister, Cary. The social snobbery that prevented Jim Peabody from marrying Cary now infects the relationship of the hospital’s “odd young couple.” Preparing Bailey to be his wife, he is training her to speak like a lady. Her ugly, lower class accent is being replaced by the beautiful speech of breeding. Ironically, when Bailey delivers the tone and style of Jim’s “lady,” she becomes a sewer of pornographic speech. At Stockbridge, Bailey begins to recover her memory, but Jim does not. She remembers that he was once her sister’s boyfriend – the drunken youth whom her mother would not allow in the house. He was also the beautiful blond boy whose humorous attention had made her feel appreciated. The struggle of Bailey to recover her belief in the goodness of the child she’d been and the growing certainty that Jim Peabody was the hero of her childhood provides the momentum of the story.
About the author
Joan Hawkins was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She went to Bennington College and New York University School of Social Work. Her first novel, Underwater, was a cutting edge cult novel that explored female sexual boundaries. It was published by G. P. Putnam in 1974 under the name of Joan Winthrop, and will soon be available as an e-book. She now lives in New York City where she practices psychotherapy.
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