Once, in Lourdes

Once, in Lourdes A Poignant Novel Of Teenage Friendship Set During A Two Week Span In The Turbulent Summer Of , In Which Four Friends Make A Pact That Will Change Their Lives ForeverFour High School Friends Stand On The Brink Of Adulthood And On The High Ledge Above The Sea At The Local Park In Lourdes, Michigan, They Call The Haight And Make A Pact For The Next Two Weeks, They Will Live For Each Other And For Each Day And At The End Of The Two Weeks, They Will Stand Once Again On The Bluff And Jump, Sacrificing Themselves On The Altar Of Their Friendship Loyal Kate, Beautiful Vera, Witty CJ And Steady Saint In A Two Week Span, Their Lives Will Change Beyond Their Expectations, And What They Gain And Lose Will Determine Whether They Enter Adulthood Or Hold Fast To Their Pledge Once, In Lourdes Is A Haunting And Moving Novel Of The Power Of Teenage Bonds, The Story Of Four Characters Who Will Win Your Heart And Transport You Back To Your Own High School Years

Sharon Solwitz is a fiction writer and professor based in Chicago, Illinois She is the author of the short story collection Blood and Milk and the novel Bloody Mary, both of which were published by Sarabande Books Tom Perotta and Heidi Pitlor selected her story Alive for inclusion in The Best American Short Stories 2012 She earned a Ph.D from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1991, an

❄ [KINDLE] ✽ Once, in Lourdes  By Sharon Solwitz ➝ – Uc0.info
  • Hardcover
  • 320 pages
  • Once, in Lourdes
  • Sharon Solwitz
  • 07 December 2017
  • 9780812989236

10 thoughts on “Once, in Lourdes

  1. says:

    I d love to ask the author Sharon Solwitz about the title of this novel As far as I know there is not a real town called Lourdes in Michigan..but what I find interesting and perhaps symbolic fitting to this story is that Madonna s daughter s name is Lourdes , who is currently a student at the University of Michigan Lourdes is reference to the Virgin Mary Lourdes, France is the most visited pilgrimage shrine in the Christian world So, Once, in Lourdes..it is Four Teens in Lourdes, Michigan in the summer of 1968 They were all in accelerated classes in school Bright teenagers with troubles They liked to play bridge in a park they called, The Haight There is definitely no mistake about the time period in which this story takes place when we read an excerpt like this family dinner table talk With that mess in Vietnam, thank God they had girls, said my dad, and Arlyn raised her pretty hands in despair She hated Nixon, but he had the best chance of working it out Mom , Elise said I can t believe you said that Tomorrow she and friends were driving down to Chicago to campaign for Eugene McCarthy Clean for Gene I glanced at my father, who had fought in Korea and feared Communism than death An avoider of emotional conflict, he was busy eating Arlyn was Kay s step mother Elise was Kay s step sister Kay s birth mother committed suicide when she was 11 years old Kay loves her dad, sometimes feel sorry for him and thinks he did a good job of replacing her mother by marrying Arlyn Kay s big wish, knowing it s vain and pathetic is to lose weight, wear a two piece bathing suit and walk down to the beach Vera had thick pale blond hair, and blue eyes She was a gorgeous thin beauty with a malformed right hand Her three middle fingers were barely emergent with tiny fingernails and the palm was undersize It was a birth defect Vera didn t hide her hand she painted her tiny finger nails bright red even than her physical beauty she exerted powerful magnetism and was fearless Vera counted 17 different sex partners yet she herself was not quite 17Saint didn t arrive at the high school until the middle of the sopho year His silences contained depths of pain felt and transmuted He came from Detroit He was the only one of the group who worked he had too CJ is Jewish and craves stories about the holocaust..as his father survived Auschwitz Kay, Vera, Saint, and CJ had reached a compromise beyond their individual desires They laughed ferociously Their project was to do everything they could ever dream to do for the next two weeks Then five days before the start of school of their last day of high school which was also Vera s 17th birthday, they would climb the cyclone fence by the bluff, hold hands on the tippy toe edge, scream some Profanity , and jump Kay had dropped 10 lbs in 10 days.but the world was changing fast and these kids were trying to take control of their world that was spinning out of control It wasn t possible to live every dream they wished Cigarettes, drugs, sexual activity, teen depression, anxiety, we are on the rise Words to music were especially powerful and influencing outside forces were strong forces.kids were looking for meaning for purpose So much confusion being a teenager Who to blame It s not easy to guess the ending of this novel It could have gone many ways Challenging topic Sharon Solwitz gives insights into her characters psychesIt s just not easy to understand for any reason why a group of teens would choose to want to end their lives together Written with tender compassion and feels very authentic Thank You Netgalley, Random House Publishing, and Sharon Solwitz

  2. says:

    3.5 stars, rounded up 1968 Bob Dylan on the transistor radio, reading Tao Te Ching, dropping acid, the convention protests in Chicago, discussing the Vietnam War around the dinner table Solwitz sets the stage for these four misfit teenagers who are best friends and she does a good job of describing the place and time The four make a suicide pact with the intention of giving themselves two weeks before carrying it out Initially told from Kay s perspective, you know from the get go that she, at least, survives Her part of the narrative is filled with references to her memory and how she is seeing what happened then through the lens of how things played out You feel for these kids Everyone can remember how as a teenager everything seems so final and important, that bad times will never get better Everything is always so black and white at that age But while I felt for them, I had a hard time getting into their heads Am I that old They seemed somehow obtuse, too dense to infiltrate I felt like I was watching them from above Or watching a movie about them There is enough tension here to keep you engaged You want to know, who, if any of them, might follow through on The Pact And then, the ending OMG So sad and heart rendering My thanks to netgalley and Random House for an advance copy of this book.

  3. says:

    I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review Thank you to the author, Sharon Solwitz, and the publisher, Spiegel Grau, for this opportunity.The summer of 1968 Four best friends are faced with a forever uncertain future Their tight knit group is set to be infiltrated and disrupted by their impending adulthood That is, unless they take their futures into their own hands and eradicate it A suicide pact gives them just fourteen days to live and experience everything they want from their lives, before they end it on their own terms and how they want to together.This was such a strange and unsettling read The pact is promised quite early on in the text and the entire novel is overshadowed by the knowledge of the doom that is awaiting the foursome, in the very near future This lent an air of solemnity to this, even when the events depicted where of an opposite nature.The four characters where given almost equal narrative time This split perspective ensured that each backstory and home life was known to the reader, as well as the particulars concerning their drastic decision to end their young lives The four were very different but their sadness was something shared, and therefore almost palpable Grief became the fifth character, in this book.The time period, this was set in, also had an impact on the events of the plot These erratic times, and the disparate influences available to the youth, gave them no certainty in their lives, with which to anchor themselves However, this was both a look at how a changing world effected the emerging generation, and a timeless yet startling insight into the coming of age psyche, marked forever by this uncertainty.Whilst this was an entirely engaging novel, but it was the last quarter that really demanded my attention The sheer amount of emotion, exhibited from this novel, was overwhelming The suspense, that haunted the previous sections, had continued to grow until it was unleashed on both characters and reader, at the end This liberal emotional outpouring did not make for easy reading but it certainly made for a captivating one.

  4. says:

    I just have to say it this book made me uncomfortable It ll probably make you uncomfortable too It s an odd story, yet beautifully written and poignant in many ways I was at times reminded of The Girls but a lot of that may have simply been the time period It s 1968, and the world is changing but four friends plan to stay behind Two girls and two boys form a unique group of friends It s clear from the way they speak that they re all intelligent, but not without their own individual issues I m not sure if I ve known a teenager in my lifetime that express their thoughts anything like these four do It was at times hard to remember they were supposed to be so young but then their complete naivety reminded me All confused about themselves and angry at the world for different reasons, they are fiercely loyal only to each other Anyone seen as encroaching on the group isn t welcome Despite some jealousy and unrequited feelings, they re in it together When one of the girls hints that she s thinking of jumping to her death after a traumatic experience she hides from the group, they initially try to talk her out of it She s resolute Soon it s decided that if she goes they all go Together Giving themselves two weeks to do things that make themselves happy, they all agree that they ll jump into the sea on a certain date and end it all What will happen in these two weeks and will they keep their pact I received an ARC of this book from Net Galley and Random House Publishing Group, thank you My opinion is honest and unbiased.

  5. says:

    Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a free, electronic ARC of this novel received in exchange for an honest review Once in Lourdes by Sharon Solwitz, takes place in a small town in 1968, where four inseparable teenagers vow to live this summer as if it is their last which of course it is since the same four have also made a suicide pact Vera, CJ, Saint and Kay spend the summer exploring themselves and each other with careless disregard and fearless abandon, knowing the consequences they suffer will be short lived However as the time grows nearer, fears and doubts begin to blossom and we are left questioning if they will indeed go through with their ill fated pact This novel was just barely 3.5 stars I almost did not finish it on several occasions, and really only remained remotely interested because I wanted to see who if any would follow through with the pact The novel was too long in spots CJ and Kay going to Chicago to join a peaceful protest with a bunch of hippies spoke to the era, sure, but did not provide much else by way of plot development and although there were parts I enjoyed the very dysfunctional backgrounds of all of the teenaged protagonists for example , they were not nearly interesting enough to keep me engaged The characters language was pretentious and unnecessarily complex I am not one to say teenagers are stupid or uneducated by any means however they do not often sit around contemplating the philosophical theories of the Tao Te Ching while playing bridge It was a little ridiculous and unrealistic I felt like the author was going for a Perks of Being a Wallflower vibe fascinating novel with a great movie adaptation , but simply fell flat with her whiny, verbose characters and their angst ridden love affairs It is evident the author has some creative writing experience, as Ms Solwitz seems skilled in character development and is able to keep the plot moving fluidly it was not at all choppy, or broken, and seemed to follow a steady stream The ending also added a little bit of surprise for a reader, which is always a good thing I enjoyed Kay as a character than the rest of them, as she had the honest self wariness and insecurities that we expect to see from a teenaged protagonist This novel was recommended to me because I read Emma Cline s The Girls , and I do see some similarities between the two novels including taking place during the same time period Ms Solwitz s novel would definitely be for anyone who was a huge fan of The Girls I was also only moderately impressed with this novel, too or readers interested in the sixties as a time period The novel is well written for sure, but I craved drama and less vocabulary.

  6. says:

    I have stopped reading this book at some point and then just never picked it back up again I am trying to be honest to myself about not finishing books I am somehow rarely absolutely sure I won t finish a book which is why the shelf is called will probably not finish I am eternally optimistic that I at some point maybe will feel like picking the book up again, but I practically never do.This is my longwinded way of saying I will not be finishing this book It is not a bad book but just not one for me I found the friendship at the heart of this book unconvincing and artificial For a group of friends to make a suicide pack, I need to believe their friendship, believe that they are the world to each other and here I did not I also found Vera unbelievably vain and annoying and could not believe she d be the heart of this group I know how weirdly toxic teenage friendships can be and how unreal they can seem from the outside I mean, I was a teenage girl at some point and I cannot believe the weird friendships I had but this did not work for me.____I received an arc of this book curtesy of NetGalley in exchange for an honest review Thanks for that

  7. says:

    Four high school friends, all of them troubled teens, make a suicide pact on the bluffs of Lourdes In two weeks, they will come back to this same spot and jump off the bluffs together How will each choose to live their last two weeks The characters voices feel authentic, I sympathized with their struggles, saw the potential for good in their souls and wished them all a happy ending But the story was unsettling and I was not a fan of the direction their paths led My fault, I should have known what I was getting into after reading other reviews Some behaviors of these kids on the cusp of adulthood made me uncomfortable With few exceptions, happy moments overshadowed by sadness and dysfunction is not my cup of tea Maybe I am just old school, but I would not want my teenager to read this book Thanks to Random House for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  8. says:

    Strange title, but it fits Lourdes, Michigan is the small fictional town where this book takes place in the late 60 s The story is centered around 4 teenage friends, 2 guys, 2 girls They are misfits at school and broken kids They come from dysfunctional families and have problems of their own, but they find solace in each other, something to be a part of I guess this is really a coming of age situation, but there is a catch They make a pact, that in 2 weeks they will kill themselves Teenagers are stupid sometimes The book was dark, but I was intent on finding out if they would carry through with their pact I was compelled to keep reading This book felt dreamlike at times, kind of like when you watch a movie and someone is on drugs and the director tries to convey it with moody, artistic filming I guess there is one point where one of the characters is on drugs, but there are other times when the writing takes on the dreamy foggy atmosphere There were a few moments that shocked me because I really didn t see the author going there and I did get a little bored with the rambling on of the smart kid There was also a day or two when I had to read something else because my brain couldn t handle all the heavy feelings that these kids carried around There were some similarities to this book and The Girls by Emma Cline, so if you are a big fan of that book, then this one might interest you.Thank you to Netgalley and Random House for providing me with a copy.

  9. says:

    It s 1968 in Lourdes, MI, a fictional town outside of Chicago The tense and taut atmosphere of 68 is felt throughout Protests, forceful police, dizzying amount of drugs, and free love 4 high school kids, each with their own personal conflicts, find friendship and form a tight bond They agree that their lives would be better if they weren t a part of this world and make a pact to jump from a bluff and end itin 14 days.When I read that this was a suicide pact, my attention was alerted I wanted to know what these teenagers thought, what was their personal dilemma The common thread seemed to be a dysfunctional home life that played out differently for each of them Life is tough juggling school, home, identity, and social issues How did any of us make it out of high school The characters The author probed each one so, as a reader, I felt like I knew each one Vera especially had my interest and a part where she was high on acid wow My heart really went out to this girl I felt deeply for each one as they battled their demons and came to their own conclusions about life There was so much tension as the novel came to an end I was glued to my ipad Loved it.Thank you NetGalley for the opportunity to read Once, in Lourdes.

  10. says:

    I received a free digital copy from the author publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest reviewKay, Vera, CJ and Saint four teenagers living in Lourdes, Michigan, in 1968 In love with each other and misunderstood by everyone, the gang make a pledge to jump off the ledge of a local cliff in two weeks time.TW Mental health issues, physical abuse, incest, fat phobia 3.5 starsThis is one of the stories where you have no idea what to think at the start, you think you do in the middle and by the end you re back to square one but feeling slightly empty like you ve lost something precious There s definitely a lot of depth and emotion in this book, and it s hidden in the crazy exploits of the kids who are going through so much stuff of their own and not really having anyone but themselves to turn to Saint has a lot of turned in anger inherited from his father but remains calm, serene but distant on the outside CJ is gay, and in 1968 that isn t the best thing to be and he still doesn t really understand it himself, Vera has a lot of daddy issues, brother issues and also is dealing with a birth defect and then Kay is overweight, had a mother who killed herself and a stepmother she hates Yeah, lots of issues to explore.I liked how this book was wild and free at times where things were explored almost accidentally Because it s 1968, it s obvious that a lot of things around sexuality weren t understood and accepted yet so we see a lot of accidental experimenting with the group such as bisexuality and cross dressing It made me uncomfortable at times because it was almost done in a mocking way but at the same time, it was quite beautiful view spoiler I particularly enjoyed Saint and CJ s sexual intimacy scene It was beautifully done and I would have much preferred that relationship over Saint and Vera as I hated it hide spoiler

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