Someone Else's Child

Someone Else's Child

A Novel

From debut novelist Nancy Woodruff comes this chilling and beautifully wrought story of forgiveness, renewal, and the ever-elusive second chance.
When fifteen-year-old Matt and his family move from Oregon to an affluent Connecticut suburb, the fact that he is home-schooled brands him as more than an outsider -- he is a town oddity. Just when he seems to have made inroads into the closed social circuit, just when he is embraced by a trio of teenage girls and feels his life might be changing for the better, he is responsible for a devastating car crash that leaves two of the girls dead.
Tara isn't in the car with her best friends. Instead, she's by her mother Jennie's bedside as she gives birth to a baby girl. While Jennie and her husband Chris mourn Tara's friends, and try to make sense of their eldest daughter's loss and their own new baby, a pervasive sense of blame begins to rain down on Matt. Jennie knows the community's reaction will surely ruin Matt's life. But when she reaches out to him, hiring him to work for her high school reunion company for the summer, Jennie suddenly finds herself vilified as well. In the face of community and family derision, both imagined and real, physical and emotional, Jennie and Matt soon find themselves in solidarity. As their attachment grows, Jennie realizes that she is bound to Matt by more than just compassion -- that the broken child she sought to save is, somehow, reviving her.
Someone Else's Child is a deeply moving story of guilt and forgiveness, despair and hope, and the intricacies of love and responsibility. In rich and unforgettable prose, Nancy Woodruff masterfully explores the fraying loyalties that can turn our world upside down in the face of tragedy.
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  • Simon & Schuster | 
  • 256 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780743212069 | 
  • July 2000
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Read an Excerpt

Jennie

She had her lunch early that Friday, just after 11:30, the thick stack of envelopes she'd picked up from her post office box on the table next to her. She meant only to sort them while she ate, then take her requisite nap before sitting down at the computer. Daily updating, that was the key to her business. If she missed even a day she felt swamped, the work piling up so much that she would return to the computer at 3:00 A.M. when the baby's punches and thumps kept her awake.

Jennie ran a one-woman business organizing high school reunions. She called it My Old School, and she liked its orderliness, its neat stacks and growing... see more

About the Author

Nancy Woodruff

Nancy Woodruff received her MFA from Columbia University, and she has taught writing at Columbia, Purchase College, Richmond, the American International University in London, and New York University. She is the author of two novels, My Wife’s Affair and Someone Else’s Child. She currently lives in Brooklyn with her husband, sons, and daughter.

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