Excerpt from I'm Looking Through You by Jennifer Finney Boylan, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

I'm Looking Through You

Growing Up Haunted

by Jennifer Finney Boylan

I'm Looking Through You
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Jan 2008, 288 pages
    Oct 2008, 288 pages

  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
Lucia Silva

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

From the other end of the room a woman's voice rose in anger. "Leave me alone!" she shouted, then threw her margarita in the face of her good man. This dramatic imperative was greeted with applause and cheers by everyone except for the fellow whose face was now covered with triple sec.

Shell looked at me and smiled. "Brandy and Boyd LeMieux," she said wistfully. "They're the perfect couple—she's an ex–model, he's an ex–Marine."

Brandy stood up and headed toward the bar where Shell and I were sitting. She was an attractive woman, in a dilapidated sort of way. "You want a cigarette?" she asked.

"I don't smoke."

Brandy laughed. "Right," she said.

"Jenny here's an English professor," said Shell.

Brandy LeMieux laughed like this was funny. "Yeah," she said. "And I'm an astronaut." She picked up Shell's drink, downed it in a single gulp. Didn't eat the prune, though. She looked at my book.

"What's that? Any good?"

"It's Nabokov," I said. "You like Nabokov?"

Her mouth dropped open, as if I were one of the Beatles. "Whoa," she said. "You really are an English teacher. Aren't you!"

"I guess."

Shell patted my shoulder. "Well," she said. "I'll let you two chat. Then she headed over toward the place where Boyd was sitting, staring sadly into Brandy's empty margarita glass.

Brandy and I watched as Shell sat down next to him. I could imagine the counsel she was offering. Don't worry, Boyd! There are plenty of other fish in the ditch!

"What a nerd," Brandy said. "My husband. I can't believe I ever married him." She looked at me. "You married?"

One of the awkward hallmarks of my life is the way relatively simple questions command complex answers, the kind that require a PowerPoint presentation and several Oprah shows to do them justice. I am more than a little hopeful, in most situations, to be seen as human. But there are plenty of times I don't want to go into the details. Especially when I'm sitting next to a woman who's just downed a drink with a prune in it.

"You're wearing a wedding ring," Brandy said, trying to help.

"It's a long story," I said.

Brandy raised her empty glass and clinked it against mine.

"You go, girl," she said.

"You go." We were friends now.

"You're really pretty, did you know that?"

"I don't think so," I said.

"Will you buy me another drink?"

"Sure," I said. The bartender cut another Fart in the Ocean.

"Boyd wants to put me in a time machine," said Brandy.

"Hate that," I said.

"He can't see me where I am. Only where I was."

"Where are you?" I said.

She reached out and squeezed my hand. "I'm here with you, Jenny."

"My son wants to be a time traveler," I said. "When he grows up."

"Well, the hell. Maybe he can use Boyd's machine, after he's done with it."

The topic of superpowers, including time travel, was a frequent one in our house. There were times when it seemed like it was all we ever talked about, Grace and me, and our middle school–age children, Paddy and Luke. I maintained that the only two superpowers worth having were super–strength and super–speed. Ten–year–old Paddy, for his part, advocated the power of virtual reality, the power of time travel, and something else he called super–stickiness, which might be the thing that enables Spider–Man to climb walls, or might be something else entirely. In any case, Paddy said that super–strength and super–speed were mutually exclusive. "If you have super–strength," he maintained, "it slows down your super–speed."

Excerpted from I'm Looking Through You by Jennifer Finney Boylan Copyright © 2008 by Jennifer Finney Boylan. Excerpted by permission of Broadway, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Hag-Seed
    by Margaret Atwood
    There's a scene in The Tempest that many critics have concluded is indicative of Shakespeare&#...
  • Book Jacket: Crossing the Horizon
    Crossing the Horizon
    by Laurie Notaro
    In Crossing the Horizon, Laurie Notaro takes us back to a time when flying was a rare and risky ...
  • Book Jacket
    Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions
    by Mario Giordano
    Munich matron and self-described worldly sophisticate, Isolde Oberreiter, has decided to retire to a...
Book Discussions
Book Jacket
The Bone Tree
by Greg Iles

An epic trilogy of blood and race, family and justice.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Next
    by Stephanie Gangi

    Fast-paced, wickedly observant, and haunting in the best sense of the word.

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win The World of Poldark

Win the book & DVD

Enter to win The World of Poldark and the full first series on DVD.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

One S D N M A S

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.


Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!

Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.