Patty will also read Thursday, March 2, at Temple University, part of the Temple MFA program’s Poets & Writers Series. The reading is at 5:30 p.m. on Temple’s main campus, in Anderson Hall room 821, the Gender, Sexuality & Women’s Studies lounge.
A tale of tenuous love and small-town intolerance, Patricia Smith’s first novel has won raves from readers, critics, book clubs and booksellers:
“A tense story about a small town swept up in bigotry and paranoia after the brutal murder of a local boy sends the residents into a frenzied witch hunt . . . Smith’s crisp prose and dedication to realistic moral ambiguity make for a provoking read.”
“Smith’s first novel successfully builds tension and a sense of dread among the picture-perfect New England fall.”
—Library Journal XPress Reviews
“Smith conveys the impact of this prejudicial hostility on two young women who are struggling to make their way in an intolerant world with a tender and delicate understanding in this nuanced tale of identity and misperception, connection and alienation.”
“Smith shows us the power of fiction to fully describe the internal and external forces that set the scene for unfounded accusations . . . Smith deftly builds tension . . . Smith shows us both the damage that will be ongoing and the revelations and growth that can arise out of ugly times. This is something to remember for the times ahead.”
“Recalls both Hellman’s The Children’s Hour and Lehane’s Mystic River in a story about murder and false accusations.”
—Bay Area Reporter
About THE YEAR OF NEEDY GIRLS: Bradley, Massachusetts, is in many ways a typical small New England town—the green, the churches, the brick library. But a river divides Bradley in half—on one side, the East End: tight triple-deckers, Most Precious Blood parish, and the Brazilian immigrant community; and on the other, the West End: renovated Victorians, Brandywine Academy, families with last names as venerable as the Mayflower.
Deirdre Murphy and her partner Sara Jane (SJ) Edmonds have just moved to the West End of Bradley, where Deirdre teaches French to girls at tony Brandywine Academy. A dedicated teacher from a working-class background, she is well loved by her students, and this particular fall, living for the first time in an open relationship with SJ, in their first house, should be her happiest yet. But the murder of ten-year-old Leo Rivera from the East End changes everything—for Deirdre and SJ, for the girls at Brandywine, and for all of Bradley. And when Deirdre is falsely accused of sexually molesting one of her students, the entire town erupts.