Fiction Elizabeth Little Dear Daughter

ISBN 13: 9780099587873

Dear Daughter

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9780099587873: Dear Daughter

LA IT girl Janie Jenkins has it all. The looks, the brains, the connections. The criminal record. Ten years ago, in a trial that transfixed America, Janie was convicted of murdering her mother. Now she's been released on a technicality she's determined to unravel the mystery of her mother's last words, words that send her to a tiny town in the very back of beyond. But with the whole of America's media on her tail, convinced she's literally got away with murder, she has to do everything she can to throw her pursuers off the scent. She knows she really didn't like her mother. Could she have killed her?

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

A graduate of Harvard University, Elizabeth Little is the author of the nonfiction books "Biting the Wax Tadpole" and "Trip of the Tongue." She lives in Los Angeles with her family.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

***This excerpt is from an advance uncorrected proof***

Copyright © 2014 by Elizabeth Little



As soon as they processed my release, Noah and I hit the ground running. A change of clothes. A wig. An inconspicuous sedan. We doubled back once, twice, then drove south when we were headed east. In San Francisco we had a girl who looked like me board a plane to Hawaii.

Oh, I thought I was so clever.

But you probably already know that I’m not.

 I mean, come on, you didn’t really think I was just going to disappear, did you? That I would skulk off and live in the shadows? That maybe I would find a distant island, a plastic surgeon, a white ceramic half mask and a Punjab lasso? Get real.

But I never meant for it to come to this. There’s attention and then there’s attention, and sure, the latter gets you fame and money and free designer shoes, but I’m not Lindsay Lohan. I understand  the concept of declining marginal returns. It was the not knowing—that’s what I couldn’t stand. That’s why I’m here.

Did you know that the more you remember, the more you expand your perception of personal time? No, really. There’s, like, studies and shit. Even though we can’t outrun death, if we muscle up our memories the race, at least, will seem a little longer. That is, we’ll still die, but we’ll have lived more. Kind of comforting, right?

Unless, of course, you’re me.

Imagine how it would feel if, out of the blue, someone were to hand you a gold medal and tell you it was yours. Oh my god, you’d think. I am  so super awesome! I won the Olympics. But, wait-what did  I win? When did  I win it? When did  I train?  Shouldn't my  biceps be  full-on Madonna? How could  I possibly forget the defining moment of my life?

And  what does  it mean that I did?

Now imagine that instead of  a gold medal you were given a murder conviction, and you'll have some sense of  how it is for me.

When I think back on the night my mother died, it's like trying to adjust a pair of  rabbit ears to pick up a distant broadcast signal. Every so often something comes into focus, but mostly I just get the scrape­ sound of  static, an impenetrable wall of  snow. Sometimes there isn't even a picture. Sometimes there isn't even a TV. Maybe if  I'd had a moment to stop and think that morning I might've had the chance to imprint a  useful detail or  two, but the police hustled me out of  the house and into a  cruiser and over to the station  before I could even think to worry about what I was wearing, much less what I might have done. By lunchtime I was in an interview room picking dried blood out from under my  fingernails while two detectives explained what they wanted me to write in my  confession.

Not that I blame them. I was always going to be  the best story. Next was the trial, which didn't have anything to do with what I knew but rather with what other people had decided I knew, and soon enough I lost the ability to tell the difference between them. And now I 'm stuck with a mess of  a memory, a hodgepodge of  angry testimony, sanctimonious magazine profiles, made-for-TV movies-less  linear narrative  than  True Hollywood Story highlight  reel. I don't know what's mine anymore.

And then there's the evidence. The only fingerprints in my  mother 's room: mine. The only DNA under my  mother's nails: probably mine. The only name written in blood next to my mother's body: definitely mine.

(That's right. You probably didn't know that part, did you?)

It 's hard enough to maintain your innocence when so many people are so sure you're not. It 's impossible when you're not sure of anything at all-other than the awful, inescapable fact that you hadn't particu­ larly liked your own mother.

The uncertainty ate at me, maggots mashing the already-decaying corpse of  my brain. And in jail, isolated from any real means of investigation, all I could do was wonder. I began to treat every action of every day like an omen, a crystal ball, a goat's intestines. How would a killer brush her teeth? How would a killer brush her hair? Would she take sugar in her coffee? Milk in her tea? Would she knot her shoelaces once? Twice?

Totally kidding. Like they would have given me  shoelaces.

Of all the challenges of  incarceration, this was perhaps the worst: I was a fundamentally rational creature reduced to rudimentary divination. I promised myself that if  I ever got out I'd try to find out what really happened, to find out what I really was.

I ignored the voice that said killing again was the only way I'd  ever know for sure.

< Messages       Noah            Contact

 

Tuesday 5:14 PM

 

Testing. Is the new phone working? Did you get this? (It’s Noah.)

 

What the fuck is this

 

It’s called text messaging.

 

I know what it is I just don’t know why we’re doing it

 

I need to make sure I can reach you.

 

What people don’t actually talk anymore

 

Welcome to the future.

 

Can I go back to jail now

 

Adapt or die, Jane.

:)

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