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Formats
Paperback Book Details
  • 07/2016
  • 9781535511582 B01MPX04HO
  • 352 pages
  • $14.99
Laurie Levine
Author
Now I Know It's Not My Fault
Alexandra Geller is a bright, underachieving fourteen-year-old coming of age in the big hair 1980’s. Alex is from an accomplished, well-educated family. The sudden death of her mother five years ago, and her relationship with her well-meaning but emotionally unavailable father, leaves her unmoored and vulnerable as she tries to figure out who she is. Early in her freshman year, she’s befriended by Paula Hanover, a young, attractive science teacher at her high school. Paula’s irreverence and charm attracts the attention of the girls, who look up to her, and the boys, who have crushes on her. Alex is thrilled to be chosen by this woman and relishes the feeling of finally “belonging” to a mother figure. Paula’s intentions aren’t so benevolent, as she slowly and carefully draws Alex into a relationship designed to meet her own needs, not Alex’s. Desperate for maternal attention, Alex finds ways to ignore the vague sense that something is wrong. Her compelling story sheds light on a common, but rarely talked about kind of trauma which is subtle, and occurs under the radar.
Reviews
Set in the 1980s, Geller’s first novel is a frequently uncomfortable coming-of-age story about Alexandra Geller, whose loss of her mother and chilly relationship with her father leave her longing for the love and approval of a parental figure. She finds it, at age 14, from her self-assured and unconventional science teacher, Paula. The young teacher flirts openly with male students, sings in a band, and makes plain that teaching is only a small part of her life. After Paula takes Alexandra under her wing, their relationship becomes increasingly intense. Levine realistically details the ways in which Paula’s motherly tendencies can rapidly transform into acts of coercion, manipulation, and humiliation. Side characters—notably Alexandra’s terse and emotionally unavailable father—don’t have the nuance that Levine brings to Alexandra, and the story’s 1980s setting, mainly conveyed through references to “big” hair and pop stars, can be ill defined. Yet Levine sympathetically conveys Alexandra’s confusion concerning her relationship with Paula and her ambivalence when it comes to taking the necessary steps to end it. Ages 14–up. (BookLife)
Jewish Book Council

"How Alex is able to resolve her unhealthy attachment to Paula and how her counselor, Erica, is able to guide her through this troubling experience is the heart of the story."

Kirkus Reviews

"Levine effectively weaves her cautionary tale by drawing from her years as a therapist dealing with “trauma stories.” Her deep understanding of “grooming” behavior—the process by which an abuser leads a victim into a dependent relationship—helps her to create a character that jumps off the page. Overall, this is an important addition to the discussion of abuse prevention and detection.

An infuriating, frightening, and compassionate story of abuse."

Tome Tender Book Blog

5 Stars - "Well-written, realistic and deeply intricate."

News
11/29/2016
CHS Teacher Scandal Informs Maplewood Novelist’s New Book

When Laurie B. Levine heard that a teacher in her hometown of Maplewood had been charged with sexual misconduct with several male students, her first reaction was to make sure her teenage son, who was in the class, was okay. Levine, a family therapist, was also encouraged to revisit the novel she had started years before, about a trauma bond between a student and female teacher....

02/01/2017
Maplewood psychologist opens chapter on teenage abuse in fictional novel

Alexandra Geller, a secular teenager growing up in suburban Connecticut, finds sanctuary at her fictional Jewish camp in the Poconos, a place where she feels nurtured, where she isn’t the girl whose mother died when she was nine, where the mildly abusive relationship she has with a female teacher recedes from her life. (Click link to continue reading the article.)

02/04/2017
Therapist’s novel takes a look at under-the-radar abuse

MAPLEWOOD, NJ — The teenage years can be difficult enough without the added distress that comes when injurious adults prey upon children. Maplewood resident and therapist Laurie Levine explores the trauma that can result from one form of inappropriate relationship between an adult and teenager in her debut novel, “Now I Know It’s Not My Fault.” (Click link to read full article.)

Formats
Paperback Book Details
  • 07/2016
  • 9781535511582 B01MPX04HO
  • 352 pages
  • $14.99

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