Cover image for In every way : a novel
Title:
In every way : a novel
ISBN:
9781619024595
Physical Description:
269 pages ; 24 cm
Summary:
Chapel Hill college student Maria finds herself in a predicament-unexpectedly pregnant at nineteen. Still reeling from the fresh discovery of her mother's diagnosis with cancer, Maria's decision to give her daughter up for adoption is one that seems to be in everyone's best interest, especially when it comes to light that the child's father hasn't exactly been faithful to her following the birth of her daughter. So when her mother proposes an extended trip to sleepy coastal town Beaufort-the same town that the adoptive couple Maria chose for her daughter just happens to live in-Maria jumps at the chance to escape. Perhaps not surprisingly, Maria finds herself listless and bored soon after her arrival in Beaufort, and a summer job seems like a cure. She has kept close watch on the couple she chose to adopt her daughter-they live mere blocks away-and, as opportunity demands, she accepts a position as their nanny. Maria ingratiates herself into the family-hesitantly, at first, and then with all the confused and chaotic fervor of a mother separated from her child.
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Summary

Summary

Chapel Hill college student Maria finds herself in a predicament--unexpectedly pregnant at nineteen. Still reeling from the fresh discovery of her mother's diagnosis with cancer, Maria's decision to give her daughter up for adoption is one that seems to be in everyone's best interest, especially when it comes to light that the child's father hasn't exactly been faithful to her following the birth of her daughter. So when her mother proposes an extended tripto sleepy coastal town Beaufort--the same town that the adoptive couple Maria chose for her daughter just happens to live in--Maria jumps at the chance to escape.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Maria finds herself listless and bored soon after her arrival in Beaufort, and a summer job seems like a cure. She has kept close watch on the couple she chose to adopt her daughter--they live mere blocks away--and, as opportunity demands, she accepts a position as their nanny. Maria ingratiates herself into the family--hesitantly, at first, and then with all the confused and chaotic fervor of a mother separated from her child.

In Every Way is a heartfelt novel that brings to light the unknowing destruction that heartache can manifest, and brims with the redemptive power of new


Author Notes

Nic Brown is the author of the novel Doubles and the story collection Floodmarkers, which was selected as an Editor's Choice by The New York Times Book Review. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, the Harvard Review, Glimmer Train, and Epoch, among many other publications. A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and Columbia University, he has been the John and Renee Grisham Writer in Residence at the University of Mississippi and an assistant professor at the University of Northern Colorado. Currently he is an assistant professor of English at Clemson University.


Reviews 4

Publisher's Weekly Review

Maria, the 19-year-old heroine of Brown's disarming new novel, is having a time of it. She is pregnant; her mother, Karen, has stage four breast cancer; and her boyfriend, Jack, is cheating on her. Maria gives her baby up in a closed adoption to a couple, Philip and Nina, from Beaufort, N.C. When Karen decides she needs a change of scene, she heads from her home in Chapel Hill to Beaufort with Maria. Quickly bored, Maria begins stalking Philip and Nina and her daughter, Bonny (short for Bonacieux), who is now a few months old. Eventually, Maria applies for a job as their babysitter, not telling the unsuspecting couple who she really is. Maria loves spending time with her daughter, sketching her and even breastfeeding her. Things become complicated when Maria sleeps with Philip, and Jack arrives in town, trying to win her back. It all becomes too much for Maria, who hightails it back to Chapel Hill alone to face an uncertain future. The plot is reminiscent of Juno, if Juno were older and decided to befriend her child's adoptive parents post- instead of pre-partum. Unlike that movie, this novel doesn't settle for easy laughs. Instead, Brown (Doubles) burrows into his main character's psyche to dramatize what it is like to be a young person trying to grow up in a world without signposts. Populated with other quirkily complex characters, this meditation on what it means to be a mother is memorable and affecting. (Feb.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Booklist Review

Within the last year, Maria's mother her sole living parent was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer and given six months to live. And now Maria, a 19-year-old college student, is unexpectedly pregnant. Already facing her mother's death, Maria opts for life, delivering a daughter she names Bonacieux (as a tribute to her mother, a professor who is the nation's top Alexandre Dumas scholar) and putting the baby up for adoption by a couple she has selected based on seeing the man the summer before in Beaufort, her favorite seaside town. When Maria's mother asks to go to Beaufort again, presumably to die, Maria is so drawn to Bonacieux that she involves herself in her daughter's family, taking actions that appear to improve her mother's fragile health but are ultimately painful and unsustainable. Brown (Doubles, 2010) has a lovely touch with prose that ranges from funny to playful to moving in portraying birth, death, and relationships and examining what it really means to be a mother, making this novel as insightful as it is entertaining.--Leber, Michele Copyright 2010 Booklist


New York Review of Books Review

IT SOUNDS IMPOSSIBLE: Give up your baby for adoption and still spend every day with her. But Maria, the 19-year-old protagonist of Nic Brown's novel "In Every Way," does just that, becoming the full-time nanny of the daughter she gave away. This is an ingenious feat, considering Maria opted for a mostly closed adoption. That the reunion is nonetheless entirely believable is a credit to Brown's gift for realism, and evidence that there is no anonymity in the digital age. When Maria finds herself pregnant, she considers abortion, but deeply affected by her mother's battle with terminal cancer, she chooses instead to give the baby up. Maria names her daughter Bonacieux (for a character in "The Three Musketeers") and chooses parents, Philip and Nina, from their profile on the adoption agency's website. They are attractive and sophisticated, and - more crucially - Maria is almost certain she has seen Philip walking his dog in the nearby beach town of Beaufort, N.C. After the adoption, longing to know about her daughter's well-being, Maria turns to the Internet. A Google search for "Bonacieux," along with "Philip and Nina," leads her to the family's blog and, eventually, to the surname Price. Trolling Craigslist for nanny gigs leads her into their home. As Maria methodically draws nearer to Bonacieux (now shortened to "Bonny"), the novel is at its most gripping. Even the near certainty that Maria will be hired doesn't temper the mounting suspense or our empathy for her desperation. As Bonacieux's caretaker, Maria thrives. Implementing strict feeding and sleeping schedules and nurturing an intimacy that extends to secret breastfeeding, she emerges a far more graceful mother than Nina. (Maybe even too much so: Nina isn't developed beyond her good looks and parental ineptitude, and seems to exist mainly to demonstrate Maria's superiority.) For a time it appears that Maria has gained control over the circumstances that left her powerless. Not only does she spend every day with her daughter; her stricken mother is also making a surprising recovery, which Maria attributes to her own care of Bonacieux. Yet rather than do all she can to protect this delicate operation, Maria hastens its demise - and both the shrewdness and the suspense that propelled the earlier chapters are lost. As the Prices turn on each other and Maria berates herself for ruining the "perfect family for her daughter," her admission rings hollow. Maria is such a superlative caregiver that the book feels stacked in her favor, suggesting Bonacieux's time with her birth mother is worth any price, or Price. Brown's prose is confident, intelligent and never precious. Its steady tone of understated realism serves the story well right up until Maria's volatile emotions come into play, when the reportorial voice seems less understated than ill suited, overly analytical and clipped. If Maria's decisions are believable, her motivations feel merely summarized, and I was left with the sense I had been told her story without quite living it. I didn't question Maria giving up her baby, missing her baby or inserting herself into the Prices' lives. But I wish I had; ambivalence would have made Maria more complex and her scheme's fallout less foreseeable. Brown creates a fascinating situation and makes it seem real, then holds us too far from its central figure to let us fully experience the narrative's devastating conclusion. Nonetheless his most powerful message does come through: We have little control over how long, and in what way, we are allowed to be with the ones we love. JULIE SARKISSIAN is the author of the novel "Dear Lucy."


Kirkus Review

A teenage mother disregards the ethics of adoption in Brown's (Doubles, 2010, etc.) challenging new novel.When 19-year-old college student Maria becomes pregnant, the timing couldn't possibly be worse. Her mother, an English professor and Alexander Dumas scholar, is in the final stage of her battle with cancer, and Maria is neglecting school to serve as her caretaker. The baby's father, Jack, is more concerned with pilfering drugs and reciting Wu Tang Clan lyrics than with the idea of fatherhood. Maria's mother, close to death, finds herself suddenly pro-life, and Maria feels like she has no choice but to give the baby up for adoption, insisting that the records be closed. What her adoption caseworker doesn't know, however, is that the couple Maria chooses to parent her baby is not entirely unknown to her. While flipping through the book of prospective parents, Maria recognizes a couple who lives in Beaufort, North Carolina, where she and her mother visit every summer. After giving birth and spending a week nursing newborn Bonacieux, Maria changes her mind about the adoption, feeling "with absolute certainty that she should keep the child." But having already signed the 60 pages of release forms, she hands the baby over despite her misgivingsand then does everything she can to insert herself into the lives of adoptive parents Philip and Nina, even going so far as to become Bonny's babysitter. What follows is a tricky story about a birth mother who can't extricate herself from her child's life and the unraveling of the family she has chosen for her daughter. While the writing preceding the birth of Bonny is emotionally distant and often enamored with its cleverness, the rest of the novel is well worth the wait. Brown crafts a complicated tale of moral ambiguity about a woman who couldn't say goodbye to her baby after the paperwork was signed. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Excerpts

Excerpts

Maria pulls Pinky off Anne's lap and pushes the shredded bra against his nose so firmly that she can feel him struggle for breath. She has never before had a dog and does not understand the logic of this move but has seen it enacted once by a neighbor and it feels right. "Maria," her mother says. "Stop." But Maria does not stop. Not only is she certain this needs to be done, she is frustrated at her mother's doubt about said fact. She wonders at hormonal instinct. If she would have been capable of this before she was pregnant, if there are now chemicals in her system sent from the fetus, preparing her for discipline, chemicals that her mother no longer has. There are times when Maria has felt unjustly deprived of her youth, and lately they've been increasing. The present moment is one of them. Maria is not above feeling sorry for herself. Where are her lost afternoons? Where are her petty arguments over what movies to see, what shows to attend? She is too busy with medicine and proto-motherhood to find them. So smell the bra, Maria thinks. My mom is dying and my boobs are getting weird and I have to pee almost always. And I'm nineteen years old. So smell this bra, and understand right now that you cannot make my life any harder. Excerpted from In Every Way by Nick Brown All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.