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Synopsis-Before my older sister Francesca died, I worked at the bakery and wrote songs, but now I write lists. Lists like ten reasons why it's my fault Francesca's dead, or five reasons why I should try and win Howie back, or one reason why I need to stop lying to everyone, including myself.
Wish I Could Have Said Goodbye is an extraordinary novel about one family's struggle to make sense of their world after losing a family member to addiction. Through sixteen-year-old Carmella's eyes, we witness the courage and strength it takes to overcome the consequences of grief, guilt and co-dependency. WIth conviction and determination, Carmella shows us what can happen when we're open to love, feel the pain of our loss, and find the courage to accept the truth of our lives.
For my blog stop today, I have an excerpt from the novel, Wish I Could Have Said Goodbye thanks to author Shari Brady.
The three of us head up the creaky steps to Donny and Francesca’s third floor apartment. We had to walk two blocks struggling to hold onto the flattened boxes and packing tape. Parking on city streets is always a pain, especially on Saturdays when everyone is home from work. Most people work Monday through Friday in this neighborhood, except for Francesca and Donny.
Donny works weekends at the bar down the street. That’s how they got this apartment. A year ago, Donny met a guy who was transferred to China for a four-year assignment and needed to rent out his top floor condo in a cool brownstone building. Francesca was so excited; she thought they got lucky. The place was only a few blocks from the famous Second City Theatre in Chicago. Francesca thought she was going to move in here and get her life back on track.
Francesca worked at different restaurants for a while, but last summer she didn’t work at all. Around middle of August, she stopped returning my calls. When she finally called me back it was the first week in September to ask me to go to an AA meeting with her. It was a week before she died and the last time I ever heard her voice.
Dad sets his stack of boxes down and knocks. Mom starts to cry. She pulls a tissue out of her purse. She hands one to me, but I’m not gonna cry. I’m gonna be strong for Mom and Dad because that’s what families do for each other.
Donny opens the door and we get a whiff of rotten food like moldy cheese. We haven’t seen him since the funeral.
“Hi,” Donny says. He combs his messy dishwater blond hair with his fingers, like he just woke up. His green T-shirt is all wrinkled.
“C’mon in.” He steps back and holds out his hand. “Hey, sis.” He smiles.
“Hi.” I almost walk towards the kitchen, but I stop myself. Francesca loved to cook. I kept her company in the kitchen while she made stuff. They were always broke, so she cooked a lot of pasta.
Everywhere I look I see Francesca. Like her favorite fake painting of a sunrise on the beach she bought from a guy on the street for ten bucks when she first moved in with Donny. Francesca and I dreamed of living near the ocean, where the air is always warm and people are more relaxed. She was sure the painting meant good luck for her. I run my finger along the tacky gold frame.
“We were supposed to be awesome career women, get married, have kids and live next door to each other, two blocks from the beach,” I whisper. “That was our plan.”
About the author: Shari A. Brady is a native Chicagoan and previously had so many careers she’s lost count. A graduate of Loyola University’s Business School and University of Chicago’s Creative Writing program, she’s finally a full-time writer, a dream she’s carried with her since she was twelve. She lives in suburban Chicago with two of the best kids ever and their shelter dog, Betty Queen Elizabeth. This is her first novel and her last career.
You can reach her here: http://www.facebook.com/ShariABradyAuthor
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