Excerpt from A Family Daughter by Maile Meloy, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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

A Family Daughter

by Maile Meloy

A Family Daughter by Maile Meloy X
A Family Daughter by Maile Meloy
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Feb 2006, 336 pages
    Paperback:
    Feb 2007, 336 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


"People might think I'm contagious," Abby said, solemnly.

"Are you?"

She shook her head no.

Jamie shrugged. "So who cares what they think?"

"I can't go in the waves alone," Abby said, more hopeful.

"I'll carry you in," he said. "Let's go, get your suit on."

Abby turned and nearly danced down the hallway to her room.

"Thank you," Yvette said to Jamie. "I can't tell you -- "

"No biggie," he said, opening the refrigerator. "That class was a drag anyway."

"Was it? I'm sorry."

"It's pretty much your fault," he said, but she could tell he was joking.

"You can take another class later."

"Sure." He closed the refrigerator.

"I'll go shopping."

"Looks good, Ma," he said. "I was just checking. Here she is, let's go."

He lifted Abby in her blue swimsuit onto his hip, as if she weighed nothing, and carried her out to the red Escort that used to be Teddy's.

Yvette followed with a twenty from her pocketbook. "After the beach, you can bring back ice cream for dessert."

Jamie snapped the bill for Abby. "Score!" he said.

Two hours later they came back, Abby sandy from the beach, with a tub of Dairy Queen ice cream and some Dilly bars that they rushed to the freezer. Abby chatted happily all through dinner, and it seemed to Yvette as if her cheerfulness were a wheel that Jamie had gotten spinning. Now he just needed to give it a push every so often, to keep it going.

"Thank you, Jamie," Yvette said, when she got her son alone. She couldn't remember when she had last thanked him for anything but Christmas presents, and now she couldn't stop.




Jamie moved into his old room and took Abby to the beach every morning. In the afternoons, he taught her five-card stud, sitting at the kitchen table with piles of unshelled peanuts.

"No eating your chips," he told her, "or we won't know who wins."

"You'll win," she said.

"I might not," he said. "I think you have a real talent for the bluff."

"No, I don't."

"You do!" he said. "Or you will when I get through with you. We can go on the road and win big -- you'll be the perfect hustler."

Abby laughed. Anything Jamie said was funny; anything he did was fun. He played guitar for her, making up songs with her name in them, and he made chords and let her strum. He listened to records in his room, and Abby sat on the floor, her dark head bent over the album covers.

One afternoon, Yvette was collecting laundry from Jamie's room, and his new Bob Dylan record was playing. Abby was studying the cover. Jamie lay on the bed, reading his old paperback copy of Dune. Bob Dylan sang:  

You may be living in another country, under another name
But you're gonna have to serve somebody.

"Why would you have another name?" Abby asked. Yvette took a towel off a doorknob.

"I guess if you did something wrong," Jamie said.

Copyright © 2006 by Maile Meloy

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!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Perfectionists
    The Perfectionists
    by Simon Winchester
    We seek precision in our lives every day. We want to drive from home to work and work to home safely...
  • Book Jacket: Beauty in the Broken Places
    Beauty in the Broken Places
    by Allison Pataki
    Ernest Hemingway wrote that we are "strong at the broken places," and Allison Pataki found that to ...
  • Book Jacket
    Love and Other Consolation Prizes
    by Jamie Ford
    Love and Other Consolation Prizes was read and reviewed by 22 BookBrowse members for First ...
  • Book Jacket: The Judge Hunter
    The Judge Hunter
    by Christopher Buckley
    In London 1664, Balthasar de St. Michel or "Balty" has no discernable skills besides pestering his ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Twelve-Mile Straight by Eleanor Henderson

An audacious American epic set in rural Georgia during the years of the Depression and Prohibition.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Summer Wives
    by Beatriz Williams

    An electrifying postwar fable of love, class, power and redemption set on an island off the New England coast.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Clock Dance
    by Anne Tyler

    A delightful novel of one woman's transformative journey, from the best-selling and Pulitzer Prize-winning writer.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win A Place for Us

A Place For Us

A deeply moving story of love, identity and belonging--the first novel from Sarah Jessica Parker's new imprint.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

H, W H A Problem

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & 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.