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Wrecker : a novel
Summer Wood
Adult Fiction WOOD

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From Publishers' Weekly:

New Mexico author Wood follows Arroyo with this affecting novel about the rearing of a lovable boy named Wrecker (for his destructive tendencies), who carries the scars of being abandoned at age 3 when his penniless, clueless mother, Lisa Fay, went to prison for drugs. It's early 1969 when Wrecker's uncle, Len, whose wife is brain damaged from an infection, becomes aware of the heft of his guardianship responsibilities as he cares for Wrecker at the Bow Farm hippie commune on the Lost Coast section of Northern California. To "help him go forward," the eccentric residents-young, no-nonsense Southern belle Melody; plaid-clad mother-hen Ruthie; and independent, "short and furry" Johnny Appleseed-of this unconventional cloister take Wrecker into their collective arms. Wrecker is confused and troublesome, and over the years often runs away, but eventually comes to appreciate his alternative family. Complications emerge with a hasty adoption, Len's wife's pneumonia, Wrecker's burgeoning adolescence, and his estranged mother's eagerness to reclaim her teenage son when she's released from prison after almost 15 years, just as Wrecker might be moving past his need to reunite with her. Wood (who was inspired by her own fostering experiences) succeeds with surefooted prose; a lush, earthy California backdrop; and a sensitive story of nurturing and family. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

Wrecker is a three-year-old boy living in 1968 San Francisco with his mother, Lisa Fay, a single woman struggling to provide a living for her son. When a string of bad decisions results in his mother's arrest and imprisonment, Wrecker goes to live with family he's never met, far away in Humboldt County. His uncle Len is barely able to keep track of him because he's struggling to take care of Meg, his newly disabled wife. Luckily for Wrecker, Len's friends live close by; Melody, Willow, Ruth, and Johnny Appleseed take Wrecker in and raise him. While Lisa Fay is incarcerated, Melody becomes Wrecker's mother, and his memories of his birth mother, both traumatic and loving, fade. But as Wrecker grows to adulthood, he and Melody both must face the truth of his heritage before it shows up on their doorstep. VERDICT A sweet adoptive-home story with extra heart and lovingly flawed characters, this second novel by Wood (Arroyo) will find its home with fans of Jo-Ann Mapson and Pam Houston.--Julie Kane, Sweet Briar Coll. Lib., VA (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Wrecker
Age: 18
Abandoned by his mother at age 3 when she went to prison for drugs; his uncle became his guardian; lived on a hippie commune and was raised by the eccentric residents; was confused and troublesome and ran away often; mother wants to reconnect with her son now that she is released from prison.

Lisa Fay
Single mother
Abandoned her son, Wrecker, when he was three after she was sent to prison for drugs; spent 15 years in prison; looking forward to getting out and reuniting with her now teenage son.

Raising Wrecker on a hippie commune.

Lives on a hippie commune; helping take care of Wrecker whom she loves as a son.

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