Looking for Mary Gabriel by Carole Lawrence
A Novel

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In the tradition of Carson McCullers, the author uses her own experience growing up with a mentally ill sister to pen this intensely moving novel. Set in the heart of the deep South, Looking for Mary Gabriel is the story of Bonita, a young girl who desperately wants her family to be normal, despite their strange behavior. Bonita's little sister, Mary, does not act like the other neighborhood kids, and Bonita vacillates between adoring her sister and hating her. Likewise, Bonita's mother is not exactly as warm and loving as one would hope a mother should be. And Bonita's father's motives are suspect to say the least. Almost inevitably, a tragic act of violence shatters the family forever.

As this exquisitely written novel opens, Bonita is preparing to bury her father and is looking back on a life that was shaped by secrets, madness, and lies. This is a novel that will be passed along from friend to friend, for Looking for Mary Gabriel captures perfectly the lonely young girl whose ultimate triumph over her unlucky past enriches all read of her.


About Carole Lawrence

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Carole Lawrence was born in Alice, Texas, but spent her childhood in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the setting for Looking for Mary Gabriel. She studied music from a very early age, and received a B.A. with a major in music from Louisiana State University. She later moved to New Orleans, where she taught piano. Carole has attended the bread loaf writers' conference, the Vermont Studio Colony, and Ragdale, an artists'colony in Lake Forest, Illinois. She earned a Master's degree from the MFA program for writers at Warren Wilson College near Asheville, North Carolina. Looking for Mary Gabriel is her first novel. Carole and her husband currently live in the Woodlands, Texas. They have one adult son.
Published June 13, 2002 by Thomas Dunne Books. 309 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Looking for Mary Gabriel

Kirkus Reviews

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Lawrence’s portrait of middle-class girlhood in Baton Rouge is vivid, especially her treatment of Bonita’s complicated loyalty to her sister.

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Publishers Weekly

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As Bonita prepares for her father's funeral, she reflects on a family history that involved schizophrenia, mysterious death and the antecedents for Bonita's own estrangement from church and family.

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Book Reporter

When Orlando is no longer there to take care of Mary and ease Bonita's burden, the unspeakable happens to Mary, and Bonita feels guilty at having been unable to prevent it.

Jan 22 2011 | Read Full Review of Looking for Mary Gabriel: A N...

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