Longlisted for the 2021 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction
by Bobbie Ann Mason
Ann Workman is a misfit who’s traveled from rural Kentucky to graduate school in the transformative years of the late 1960s. While Ann fervently seeks higher learning, she wants what all girls yearn for—a boyfriend. But not any boy. She wants the “Real Thing.” Many years later, Ann recalls this time of innocence—and her own obsession with Jimmy—as she faces another life crisis. Seeking escape from her problems, she tries to imagine where she might be if she had chosen differently all those years ago. What if she had gone to Stanford University, as her mentor had urged, instead of a small school on the East Coast? Would she have been caught up in the Summer of Love and its subsequent dark turns? Or would her own good sense have saved her from disaster?