How do we judge the worth of a person? What happens when we falter, when we commit acts that offend our own values? What effects do shame and silence have on our lives and relationships?
An Offering examines these questions as it depicts the struggle of Alice and her daughter, Lucy, to confront troubling aspects of themselves and their pasts. The effects of Lucy’s and Alice’s personal decisions come to challenge their identities, values, and self-worth. Ultimately, the novel is about embracing our experiences, strengths, and weaknesses. It is also about sharing, forgiveness, and accepting what life offers.
The novel centers upon Alice, who lives in rural and metropolitan Minnesota during the Great Depression and after World War II, and her daughter, Lucy, growing up in suburban Ohio during the 1960s and 70s, and plagued by anorexia nervosa in her college years. Through the novel, we become acquainted with their separate experiences through the present day. Although Lucy’s and Alice’s personal struggles are similar, their relationship is blighted with division and conflict.
The heart of the story is how Lucy and Alice begin to resolve that conflict within themselves, between one another, and inside the family.
From, An Offering: Alice, Saint Paul, September 28, 1950
Warm liquid trickles then surges between Alice’s closed legs, forcing them open. She reaches for the cool bars of the iron headboard to brace herself. As the flow subsides she senses something between her legs, and she reaches down to touch it. It is round, slick, and waxy. The form is propelled forward in another wave, and it moves outside her body. And then behind the roundness her fingers brush something slippery, spongy, with contours, valleys and hills. Underneath, it is solid. . . . . Curious, Alice runs her fingers over it. There is no doubt now. . . . Resigned, her labored breathing narrows, then slows. For a few moments, the only sound inside the room is the movement of her own air drawn in hungrily through her nostrils, and then out in grateful sighs through her parted lips. . . . . Later, Alice finds that she remembers the sound of her breathing most of all, up until the first lonely wail.
From, An Offering: Lucy, The Dixie Cup, September, 1960
The sequence went like this. First, there are good intentions, then selfish acts followed by regret, and then sometimes pleasure, sometimes guilt. She considered how much of her life was a version of this sequence peppered with particulars of circumstance, trends unique to the times, and a perspective based on development, experience, and knowledge of the world. Lucy concluded that we live the same episode many times over. We are given many opportunities to get it right, to find what works best for us, and to adhere to our own rules. . . . . Her most basic rule, as far back as she could remember, was simple and maybe a little naïve: “Be good.” That was all. She strived for this. And she was a good girl, wasn’t she? So it was unlike Lucy to sneak money from her mother’s purse at such a tender age. She was not quite four at the time. Lucy had surprised even herself. This might be something that her sister Eleanor would try. But Lucy?
An Offering is an ebook, and is readable on smartphones, tablets and any popular eReader, including the Amazon Kindle, Apple iPad, and Barnes & Noble Nook.
Available for preorder prior to May 10th here: https://store.bookbaby.com/book/an-offering and coming soon to many electronic book vendors