Lots of kids think their parents are crazy at one point or another. Caitlin's really are. Both her mother and father have schizophrenia, and Caitlin and her older brother grow up trying to navigate the chaos of living with two mentally ill parents. Now a young mother herself, Caitlin reflects back on her childhood, her efforts to create a peaceful and serene life for herself, her family, and the emotional scars and fears she still can't shake.
EXCERPT REVEAL! =)
"Jon-da-lar, Jon-da-lar, doesn't have a home, so he lives in a car.” The chanting began behind us as Jon and I were walking home from our new school to our new home at the Golden Torch Trailer Park. It was November, and we were the new kids in our respective classes, arriving late enough into the school year that all our fellow classmates noticed us. "Jon-da-lar, Jon-da-lar, doesn't have a home so he lives in a car.” Jon tensed up beside me and muttered "Ignore them Ava." I ignored Jon and whirled around angrily. Two boys, presumably Jon's new fourth grade classmates, smirked and began chanting again, sure that their teasing had gotten under my skin. "You'd better stop that," I yelled. "Come on Ava," Jon said. I could tell by the sound of his voice he was worried that I'd start a fight that he would have to finish. The chanting continued, picking up in volume and no doubt attracting the ears of every other kid walking nearby. Jon stopped walking and turned uneasily to look back at me and his tormenters. "I'm serious," I yelled at the pair. "You're in real trouble now.” The boys stopped chanting long enough to laugh. "What ya gonna do," sneered the taller of the pair. "Beat us up?” "No," I said firmly, with an unexpected calm sweeping over me. "I'm going to report you to the Swedish Embassy. Our great-great-grandfather Jondalar was the King of Sweden, and it's illegal to take the name of a Swedish King in vain.” The pair looked at me with confusion crossing their faces, obviously not expecting such a speech from a first grader. Before they could regain their voices, I put my hands on my hips and continued. "You're in big trouble," I announced. "I'm going to call the Swedish Embassy when I get home. They'll have you arrested and thrown in jail.” "They can't arrest us," said the shorter kid. "They're not cops.” "They've got dip-lo-mat-ic imm-un-ity," I said repeating a phrase I'd heard my mother chant during her last breakdown. I had no idea what the words meant, but they sounded both scary and official, especially with all the syllables drawn out. "It's a very serious offense. You'll be sorry.” The two looked at each other, surprised perhaps, at the multi-syllabic words coming so confidently out of the mouth of a small girl. Jon took advantage of their speechlessness to move in for the kill. "Aw Ava, you don't want to do that to them," he said. "I have to," I stated. "They took the name of King Jondalar in vain. That's a major crime.” "I don't think they really meant it," Jon said, glancing at his two tormenters. "I don't think they deserve to be sent to the dungeon just 'cause they didn't know.” The boys stiffened at the word dungeon, anxiety apparent in their expressions."I don't know." I said."Aw, let's give 'em a break.”"I don't know," I repeated."I'm really sorry," burst out the taller boy, whose name we found out later was Timmy. "Me too," blurt out his companion, Ryan, who later became one of Jon's friends. "Don't let it happen again," I snapped, then turned around and resumed marching home. I heard the sounds of the two scampering off, then Jon snickering. He rested his hand briefly on my shoulder, and we began walking together.
About the Author:
Terri Morgan is an avid reader, dog lover and ocean fanatic from California's Central Coast. She started writing to support her surfing habit, and is the author of numerous sports biographies for young adults. She has also co-authored two books about photography, including one for young readers. Playing the Genetic Lottery is her first novel.Find and Follow her on: Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Website
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