Written with sensual, poetic, and evocative prose, this remarkable memoir is an honest and naked exploration of what it means to live as a young woman in the quiet wreckage of a broken home, in a town whose central industry is punishing criminals, in a time in our history when social norms were shifting and no one seemed to be in charge, and it was so very easy to fall perilously between the cracks. A deeply moving, timely, and important memoir.
~ Andre Dubus III, author of Townie and Gone So Long
I read Maureen Stanton's memoir, sometimes grinding my teeth at scenarios all too familiar to me. I am proud and heartbroken at the story she tells--proud she reached a point where she could write it all down, and heartbroken at how much courage and resilience is necessary to survive. She has earned my respect and admiration.
~Dorothy Allison, author of Two or Three Things I Know for Sure and Bastard out of Carolina
Publisher's Weekly New Biographies and Memoirs in 2019
Reading Group Choices Recommmended Book
Summer's Most Anticipated Books, Apple Books
New England Independent Booksellers Association Summer Pick
Lowell Reads Book Selection Fall 2019
"Powerful and probing, Stanton’s book offers a sharp portrait of a wayward girl “leaping backward” into disaster. Along the way, she reveals the way individuals are as much a product of time and place as they are of the families to which they belong. A compellingly honest coming-of-age memoir."
Bookseller Praise for Body Leaping Backward
Maureen Stanton's memoir is a searing story of her troubled teen years, the breakup of her parents, the town where she grew up with the famous Walpole Prison that cast a large shadow, and the seventies, when everything seemed to take a downward spiral. It is a harrowing story, with so many dangers that could have been fatal but were almost miraculously survived. At it's core it is a story of connection and disconnection, of loss and love, of the struggle to survive, and finally, of redemeption. It will haunt me for a long time.
~ Carole Horne, Harvard Book Store, Cambridge MA
Body Leaping Backward is a searing portrayal of drug use--back when it was largely angel dust--among ordinary suburban teens in the late 1970s. Maureen holds nothing back as she describes Walpole, a working class suburban community outside of Boston heavily influenced by the State Prison located within its borders, and her drug-filled teen years there. One of seven children, her family descended into poverty once her parents split up. Gritty and heartbreaking, Maureen's story shows the tremendous power of drugs to numb psychic pain and to normalize utterly reckless behavior. It seems astounding that Maureen was able to survive through her girlhood and her tough journey back to sobriety. We decry the opioid addictions of today, but really how different are they from the addictions of yesteryear? Maureen's memoir is likely to provide a powerful springboard for many wide-ranging discussions.
~ Isabel Berg, BookEnds, Winchester MA
A shattered family, rampant drug use, a sense of hopelessness--Maureen Stanton's slide into delinquency feels as inevitable as the shadow cat by nearby Walpole prison. Only her innate intelligence and fierce independence keep her outside those walls despite her mother's predictions. Distinctly New England in setting, this straight-shooting and astutely observed memoir is spot-on with social and cultural references that will resonate with anyone who grew up in 1970s American.
~ Gillian Kohli, Wellesley Books, Wellesley MA
Body Leaping Backward is an honest and gritty memoir of growing up in the 60s and 70s in Walpole, Massachusetts. Maureen Stanton's adolescence was perilous. Her family struggled when her parents were together; after their split, her life--and that of her six siblings and her single mom--had the potential for disaster. Like many of her contemporaries, she succumbed to the lure of drugs and risky behavior. Somehow, Stanton survived those harrowing experiences. In this book, she draws on keen memory and gift for storytelling to construct this riveting memoir. Reading Body Leaping Backward feels like taking a deep plunge with a gifted author.
~ Pam Price, Book Shop of Beverly Farms, MA
Maureen Stanton's memoir about her adolescence is an enlightening account about her teenage activity in the 70s. The middle child in a family of seven, Maureen's elementary years portray an achieving, bright, sassy girl with determination. Following are thee tween/teen years and the same girl is now a night wanderer, drug user, and school skipper. Liker a rudderless ship, Maureen drifted with the currents. She eventually finds the oars and redirects her life, an accomplishment that is amazing. Adolescence is a rough road to navigate without support and supervision. Choices made during this time have lifelong repercussions. Success and scars are found in equal measure. The eager smart child buried within Maureen was eventually found, embraced, and nurtured back to the surface. Body Leaping Backward is a cautionary tale that I read with diligence and pauses; the need to stop and reflect was often compelling.
~ Kathleen "Totsie" McGonagle, Buttonwood Books and Toys, Cohasset, MA