By Kerry Madden
"A tremendously funny and touching book. I really loved it." —Diane Keaton Kerry Madden-Lunsford's fresh, often hilarious, debut novel presents a bittersweet and unforgettable tale of adolescence. On the surface, the Donegals seem the picture-perfect norm of a nuclear family in the 1970s. But seen through the eyes of Liz Donegal, her world teeters on the brink of disintegration. Liz's father, an assistant college football coach, uproots his family annually with the motivational compassion of "Get your ass in the car." Her brothers Joe-Sam and Leo, whose first words are "hut, hut, hike," and sister, Peaches, a wannabe cheerleader, pick apart their lives and tentatively pull together in whatever town they land in, whether it's Bobcat Country or Shark Territory. While chaos reigns within the Donegal household, outside the family dog Halfback is busy digging up his predecessor Bear Bryant. At the center of this remarkable cast of characters, Liz creates a world for herself spun out of best friends, books, secret glimpses at sex manuals, and a few adults who actually understand what it means to grow up "offsides." Fostered by the creativity of her aunt Betty and uncle Peter, Liz first glimpses life beyond football games and Catholic school. When she isn't busy rebelling, singing Lou Reed songs, or transforming herself into Helen Keller or Anne Frank, Liz is falling in love, discovering herself, and learning that life also has some painful lessons.