TITLE: Degrees of Broken
GENRE: Contemporary YA
In second grade, I told the kids at my lunch table that the relish in my tuna-fish sandwich was really ground up fish eyes from the whole tuna my mom butchered once a month and forced me to eat. Back then, I didn't realize the kids I told didn't quite count, because they couldn't make my life any better, but it was the only thing I could come up with to try to make some part of them feel sorry for the way I was growing up.
The only thing that lie really accomplished was a sick-to-my-stomach, wasted lunch, and a
stay-away-from-the-weirdo-new-girl status, on top of everything else. No one believed me, but I tried, anyway.
Even with a better story, no one would have been swayed to my side, because from the outside looking in, my mom tied our lives up in a believable bow with her Martha Stewart housewife smile and apparent capableness; even the counselors with the job of stamping "ITINERANT/AT RISK" on my permanent folder through the years had trouble believing the words.
And if I squinted my mind's eye up hard enough, tilted my head far to the left, and got a temporary case of amnesia (and it happened once or twice, I'll admit), I could get caught up in the charade, too--mistake my mom and dad's temporary marriage make-believe for the real thing, believe my mom really was so
happy and honeymoon in the new kitchen, it might be the last one I had to get used to.