Best Intentions (manuscript)
Best Intentions is a story of a woman who tries to improve the lives of others at the expense of her relationships with her own family members. She takes the servant leadership concept to a dysfunctional level and learns something by the end of the book.
Cissy Stahlinger holds a lifetime grudge against a bully for taking away her freedom, but she doesn’t realize that she never really had it in the first place.
Of German descent, Cissy is the best baseball player in Depression-era Little Italy, diving into the dirt for grounders, manning second base without a glove, and smacking solid line drives. When Bruno jeers at Cissy’s developing figure, a fight ensues, resulting in both the bully’s humiliation and his quick retaliation. Bruno’s threat, combined with her parents’ fear of his father, a local crime boss, ejects the Stahlingers from the baseball diamond for good, and for Cissy, into the sanctuary of her books.
After Cissy’s transformation from tomboy to scholar, her parents derail her ridiculous aspirations of college and a career. Cissy’s destiny is life as a housewife in what Betty Friedan calls the “comfortable concentration camp.” This role leaves Cissy feeling overwhelmed and underappreciated, resulting in a psychological breakdown, for which she blames Bruno, with whom encounters are inevitable in their small town.
As a baby boomer, I experienced cultural barriers in my own quest for higher education, and it took me until the age of 38 to finally realize my dream of a college education. Having earned a BA and MA in English now, I have written professionally for more than a decade as a magazine editor, freelancer, and blogger. A seminal version of BLINDS was used as my masters’ thesis and helped me win the Academic Excellence Award for Graduate English at Gannon University in 1999.
BLINDS, a work of literary fiction has been compared to Carol Rifka Brunt’s Tell the Wolves I’m Home and Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.