The Making of Nebraska Brown
The Making of Nebraska Brown by Louise Caiola
Paperback, 318 pages; e-book
Published February 6th 2014 by Immortal Ink Publishing
The last thing eighteen-year-old Ann Leigh remembers is running from her boyfriend in a thick Nebraska cornfield. This morning she’s staring down a cool Italian sunrise, an entire continent from the life she once knew. The events of the eighteen months in between have inexplicably gone missing from her memory.
All at once she’s living with Tommy, an attractive, young foreigner asking for her continued love. Though he’s vaguely familiar, she recalls a boy named Shane in America who she reluctantly agreed to marry. Juggling a new world while her old one is still M.I.A is difficult enough without the terrifying movie scenes spinning a dizzy loop in her mind: glimpses of a devastating house fire, a romance gone wrong, an unplanned pregnancy, and a fractured family – each claiming to be part of who she once was – a girl and a past somehow discarded.
Ann Leigh must collect the pieces of herself to become whole again, but she doesn't know who to trust especially when Tommy’s lies become too obvious to ignore. And above all, her heart aches to discover what became of the child she may or may not have given birth to.
The Making of Nebraska Brown tells the story of one girl’s coming apart from the inside and the great lengths she’ll go to reclaim herself and find her way home.
My thoughts about The Making of Nebraska Brown ~~
Born and raised in Nebraska how could I not want to read this book? I totally had to find out what the Nebraska connection was all about.
And let me talk about this cover for a little bit. I love the subdued colors and the image of the windmill on the plains in the woman head, with Europe in the background. It really made me curious as to what this story was all about and how those things all tied together. A good cover draws the reader into the story. At least in my case it does, cover lover that I am.
'There were no castles or kings in Nebraska. We had little fractured houses and little fractured families.'
I loved this story and how it all played out. I have to admit that it was sometimes confusing, but it helped me relate to the main character, Ann, as she is trying to remember her life. Ann 'wakes up' in Italy missing a year and a half of her life. Her memory comes back little bit by little bit and that is what the reader gets to experience right along with her. We go on this journey with her to try to piece all of the thoughts and images together to make some kind of sense.
'Your thoughts were all jumbled up. It seemed you could only recall... you didn't know anything about your past, before you arrived in Campania.'As she starts to remember her other life, her life in Nebraska, she tries to understand why she left her friends and family and how she ended up so far away from all that.
'And you think if you go someplace else and change your name that means you'll be free? Listen, Ann Leigh. Love is in the air. It's oxygen. Love me right here and you'll breathe just fine.'Trying to figure out what happened to Ann and to understand why she is where she is now is what kept me reading this story when I should have been doing other things. It was a mystery that need to be solved, and resolved. I just had to keep going!
'Right now, you're thinking that I found you, an empty glass, and I filled you up with whatever concoction I had. You're imagining I mixed and measured and toyed with you until I got the girl I wanted. Yet that isn't so. Not at all. I handled it the way I was instructed to'
I rarely reread books but this is one that I think I will have to come back to again. I think reading it again after getting to the end and seeing how the story all unfolded will only make the story that more meaningful the second time around.
Thank you, Louise, for such a great story!
And for featuring the great state of Nebraska! Loved it!!
Last thing I remember, Shane Kirkland had his left hand on my right boob, and I could feel the nub—the missing chunk of his pinky finger that got chewed off in the gristmill. So I ran, mostly because the idea of marrying him and his sad punk of a finger sent a shiver straight through to my bones. Then I recall the wind under my feet as I left him in the raw evening mist that settled over the cornfields as soon as the sun was done burning a hole through the Nebraska day. And if memory served, I kept my mouth closed because my 12th grade track coach used to say that if you don’t, you could unknowingly swallow an entire bellyful of summer gnats in less than a mile. I motored past the silo at McClusky’s farm and down the path that lays parallel to the stream. I don’t know why I was running so fast. He would never catch up, wouldn't even attempt to. He couldn't, what with his pancake-flat feet and bad ankles that dislocated at high speeds. Shane was as good as any maimed man, twenty-one years old, horny, in love, and gloriously imperfect.
His voice certainly could carry. Always said he could holler clear across town. There was some talent to that; I suppose.
“Ann Leigh, come back!”
I kept the pace for a while, only slowing when I neared the water tower. The vision in my mind turns grey and sketchy from there. Had I scaled all the way to the top? If so, it wouldn’t be the first time. Had I reached that skinny lip of a ledge and lost my footing, toppling over? Or had I slipped somewhere along the climb?
I recall the moonlight slicing through the trees, a sharp silver spear on my face while thoughts slashed my brain like a razor—thoughts of becoming Mrs. Shane Kirkland the Second, thoughts of working in his daddy’s restaurant alongside his mother, slinging hash—whatever that meant— and refilling the tampon holder in the ladies room known as the Hen House.
“Ann Leigh, where are you? Where are you?”
I pried my eyelids open. A clean blue sky strung out above me. And then a face, a man’s face. His lips were moving slowly, his words like seasoned gibberish.
“Sta bene signorina?
I squinted against the light, so bright, so unlike a Nebraska morning.
“Pardon?” My own voice was tiny and far off.
“Sta bene signorina?” he repeated.
I felt the ground beneath me, a cool, damp mattress of low grass and smooth white pebbles. I sat up on my elbows to look around, over the man’s shoulder. My temples knocked from the inside out.
“I–I don’t understand.”
But somehow I did. I knew what he was saying. He was asking me if I was all right–young lady, are you all right. That’s what he’d said. How did I know that? There was no way. I’d transferred out of Spanish 1 in junior year to take Photography where we shot rolls and rolls of film—still life of apples and lampshades.
“Where...where am I?” I asked. “Campania,” he said.
“Si. Campania.” He smiled. His teeth were Clorox white against his skin, which was the color of toasted almonds. “Ho pensato che fosse morto. Non ha bisogno di un medico?”
I propped myself up enough to notice where I was. Some strange garden. Someplace I’d never been or even seen. Not Nebraska. Not remotely close to Nebraska. Campania?
“No, I’m not morto, not dead. At least I don’t think so. Don’t you speak any English?”
He lifted one hand in the air and pinched his thumb and pointer together. “Solo un po’.”
“Just a little?”
“Si. Just . . . a . . . little. Sei caduta?”
“I don’t know if I fell . . . I think I passed out.” There I was, again. Understanding his forked tongue. And it wasn’t Spanish he was speaking. It was Italian. “I don’t . . . I can’t remember. This Campania. This is Italy, no?”
“Italia, si, miss, Italia.”
About the author
As a young girl who spent her allowance on Nancy Drew mysteries, Louise realized that one day, she might have a story of her own to tell. Maybe even more than one story. After years focused on raising her children she eventually reconnected with her passion for creative writing. She soon began to craft a large collection of short stories which were published in the inspirational online magazine, Faithhopeandfiction.com. Shortly thereafter, she authored her first novel, Wishless, a contemporary YA, released in 2011.
Louise devotes a portion of each day to honing her skills. She has several other novels currently in various stages of development. A confirmed bibliophile, Louise enjoys reading outdoors on a warm spring day and watching her pup chase leaves on a breeze. She looks forward to meeting others who share her love of the written word and invites you to visit her blog, her website and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.
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