Judy Garland, Ginger Love by Nicole Cooley

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Synopsis

In her extraordinary debut novel, critically acclaimed poet Nicole Cooley takes readers on a humorous, achingly beautiful journey to a world of magical escapes and startling restorative truths. Judy Garland, Ginger Love is about motherhood and sisterhood, being and becoming, loving and learning to let go.

I know about sisters. Being a sister is the role in life I've always been best at, the one part I could play well. When I tried to become a mother, I failed.

After a tragic pregnancy leaves Alice Carson bereft and unmoored, she turns for comfort not to her husband, but rather to her estranged identical twin Madeline. However, this attempted return to the past is fraught with emotional landmines. While Alice, calm and serious, is the older sister, born five minutes earlier, the explosive and wild Madeline has dominated the pair's solitary lives since childhood.

From birth, Alice and Madeline shared a private, imaginary worldone colored by the larger-than-life tale of the dazzling and tragic MGM star Judy Garland. Handed down from their grandmother to their mother and now to them, the dramatic story of the actress' rise to stardom inspires Alice and Madeline to create their own Emerald City. Playing out their deepest fantasies in the empty swimming pool of the cheap New Orleans motel they called home, the young Alice and Madeline transform themselves into Judy Garland and her "baby sister" Ginger Love.

The twins' enchanted world is shattered the day their mother abandons them, vanishing with little more than a brief goodbye. Now, years later, Alice gives herself up to her sister's outrageous scheme to find Lily. Having lost her unborn daughter, Alice desperately hopes to get her mother back.

As the open road draws the sisters closer to their past, two women come face to face with life's painful realities; for the nearer they come to recapturing Emerald City, the more Madeline unravels, and the more Alice begins to see where her home is, and where her heart truly belongs.

Judy Garland, Ginger Love resonates with profound insights that will leave no reader untouched.

"A touching return to love."
Barbara Esstman, author of Night Ride Home

 

About Nicole Cooley

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Nicole Cooley teaches poetry at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.
 
Published August 19, 1998 by Harper. 304 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Judy Garland, Ginger Love

Kirkus Reviews

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Later, when Alice and Madeline meet in Sarasota, it’s obvious to Alice that her sister’s mental condition has deteriorated even further than their mother’s did: she dresses in costumes and wants to go play in an imaginary Emerald City.

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Publishers Weekly

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Bravely venturing into several recently well-mowed fields (most obviously identical twinship and eating disorders), Cooley gamely searches for fresh insights in this quirky, initially intriguing but u

Aug 31 1998 | Read Full Review of Judy Garland, Ginger Love

Publishers Weekly

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Although Cooley, a Walt Whitman Award-winning poet (Renaissance), emulates more accomplished writers such as Alice Hoffman and Anne Tyler in this multigenerational story of neurosis, she burdens her flimsy domestic drama with symbolically loaded (but too often misfiring) references to Frida Kahlo...

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Entertainment Weekly

The dark aspects of twinhood, mother-daughter bonds, and Judy Garland's life are all intertwined in Judy Garland, Ginger Love, an ambitious if occasionally overwrought debut novel from Nicole Cooley.

Sep 25 1998 | Read Full Review of Judy Garland, Ginger Love

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