Today in gym, Lisa DeSilva fell off the ropes. At first they thought she lost her footing, but it turns out she had fainted. Luckily she was only about five feet up and there was a big mat underneath. They ask me to take her to the office so Gary can call her mother to come get her.
I wonder if she still lives in the same house. When we were in lower school, Lisa had a Halloween party in her basement. Her father or stepfather stood at the top of the stairs, making ghost noises through the door while everyone ran around screaming. The floor was sticky with apple juice and squashed candy corns. My cat tail fell off and got lost. Witches hats were mashed. Even Lisa, dressed as a blue fairy, seemed unsure of what would happen next.
I sit with her in Gary’s office. She’s lying on the couch under an International Year of the Child poster. Her hair is dark brown, almost eggplant. She used to be really cute but now she wears glasses with peach-tinted frames that make rest of her face seem small and indistinct. She looks defenseless in her gym clothes, tiny blue shorts and a decal shirt whose decal has been bleached out and is now just a white plastic shape.
“Feel my hands,” she says, laying one hand upon my arm. They are cold and clammy. I still remember the day we were huddled around her in gym, asking, “Does it hurt? Do you bleed a lot?” Lisa was our resident expert. She was the one with the experience. I want to thank her for telling us about it, to tell her that, three years later, I finally got my period, but it has been a while since we were friends.
Unhexed=Bites of Lunch that were cut from the final manuscript. As I slowly, slowly make my way towards creating a print version of the book I may include some of these cuts. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. In an effort to not confuse the reader with too many characters I cut out minor ones.
“Lunch in Brooklyn takes place in New York City in the late 1970s, but it could’ve been written about any era in any locale. Adolescent angst never changes throughout the years; the desires, humiliations and fumbling explorations (drugs, sexuality) remain constant, as do teachers who exclaim, ‘People, settle down,’ and parents who hover over every relationship detail.
“Rebecca Moore has a keen ear for dialog and expertly crafts a young girl’s coming-of-age in a specific time and place. The good news is that Lunch in Brooklyn doesn’t require you be female, or from Brooklyn, to enjoy it.”
“He opens his mouth to say something but the train is picking up speed as we go under the river. We glance at each other without speaking. The empty cars of the CC train rattle through the tunnel. They are gray with yellow walls, dim light, dirty linoleum and slow electric fans. They are like someone’s kitchen in a long dream. When the train pulls into Broadway-Nassau Street, the car fills with miserable people in steaming trench coats. Harry pushes out against the tide of them to transfer to the Lexington Avenue IRT.”
I took this picture of an old CC train at the Transit Museum. Either the colors of the carriage walls had changed by the late 70s or I misremembered them by the time this scene was written. Also, the museum has used brighter lighting. The way I remember it, there was always at least one light flickering and it was darker. Underground was like being underwater. Note the porthole window in the door.
Click here for the book page and code. What’s the catch? There isn’t one, just a request: if you like it, be like Heather Locklear and tell a friend.
Kimberly on Goodreads wrote: “This is a beautiful, and achingly accurate portrayal of the highs and lows of middle school! I must emphasize the beauty of it since now I can appreciate it, being many moons from junior high! I don’t remember the excerpts in Sassy, but I’m happy I stumbled upon it now. This is a wonderful summer read, and although there are teens at the heart of the story I think it will be best enjoyed by us grown-folks, especially Gen X-ers or older. I would love to see what happens next!”
Thank you, Kimberly!
If you’ve read the book, what do you think about the best age for readership?
Or a sequel?
Read a little more of Lunch on Mr. Beller’s Neighborhood.
“The Gift of Tongues” combines the New Yorker’s love of rooftops with the middle schoolers love of the grotesque and overtly sexual.
And in the spirit of NYC 1970s autobiographical realness, here’s a picture of me in 7th grade, holding a light meter for my father, who was a photographer. New Yorkers will recognize the Fox Police locks.
Daisy Porter says the book is “not perfect” but has “amazing voice.” She gives it four stars on Amazon.
Daisy blogs at Queer YA, reviewing LGTBQ fiction for teens. She may not know it, but she is also the first winner of a vintage Sassy/Nirvana sticker. Christina said she had not heard from her, which means her review was written just because, even better.
Solicited reviews are good, too. And there are nine stickers remaining if you want to get in on that action.