fiction

American Circumstance

Patricia Leavy

Paige Michaels comes from the kind of wealth that few experience. The daughter of a notoriously successful banker who wielded great political power, she grew up in an extraordinary world peopled by the leaders of tomorrow. Now one mistake rooted in her past is threatening to unravel her perfect life. After years as a stay-at-home mother in New Jersey, Mollie Johnston convinces her husband to move back to New York, to fulfill her dream of living amid the bright lights. Mollie is uncomfortable in her own body and always worried about how others see her. Once she sees how the other half lives, will she come to see herself and her marriage more clearly? Gwen McAndrews is the ultimate New York socialite, and the envy of those impressed by her grandeur, but is there more than meets the eye? Along with Paige, Mollie and Gwen, a cast of characters’ stories are interwoven into the text—parents, children, care-takers, childhood friends, old lovers and spouses. American Circumstance is a novel about appearance versus reality; how people’s lives and relationships look to others versus how they are experienced, and the complex ways that social class shapes identity and relationships. American Circumstance provides a window into the replication of wealth, power and privilege. Through the protagonist’s work with an international women’s organization the novel is underscored with a narrative about how gender, social class and race intertwine on a global scale, and problems are all relative. There are also strong narratives about how family and friends influence identity and the things we say and don’t say to each other. While fictional, American Circumstance is grounded in autoethnographic observations and more than a decade of teaching and research about gender, class, race, identity and relationships. The novel can be used as supplemental reading in courses that deal with gender, social class, power, family systems, relational communication, intimate relationships and/or identity, or it can be read entirely for pleasure.

American Circumstance kept me up! I couldn’t put it down. I wanted to see how the characters’ lives untangled.  I loved how Leavy challenged my cultural assumptions. This book would be great to teach. Students will have a lot to talk about as they discover a ‘sociology of everyday life’ embedded in the fiction.” — Professor Laurel Richardson, The Ohio State University

American Circumstance had me hooked from page one.  Patricia Leavy creates a compelling, enthralling world that beautifully illustrates what real love and partnership truly is while challenging our assumptions and pushing us to look at our own relationships.  Expertly crafted and engagingly drawn.  Pick this book up!” – Amy Leigh Mercree, author of The Spiritual Girl’s Guide to Dating: Your Enlightened Path to Love, Sex & Soul Mates and The Wonderborn Witches

“This one is a real page-turner. Just when you think you know what’s going on, it turns out that events aren’t at all what they seem.” — Professor Eve Spangler, Boston College

“Recently, I read Patricia Leavy’s novel American Circumstance. It is wonderful! The characters and story invite you into a world that is both familiar and unfamiliar. While many urgent social issues are raised for thoughtful consideration, the heart of the novel pulses with the experiences and emotions of three women who, while marked by many differences, all share a commitment to living hopefully in love. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole novel–from the first inviting words to the exquisitely poignant conclusion. Highly recommended!!” — Professor and Poet, Carl Leggo, University of British Columbia

Award Nominations

PEN/Faulker Award in Fiction 2014

The Mirra Komarovsky Award for the Outstanding Sociology Book of the Year 2014 the Eastern Sociological Society

Outstanding Book of the Year 2014 International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry

Low-Fat Love

Sense Publisher’s #1 Selling Book 2012 & 2013

Patricia Leavy

Low-Fat Love unfolds over three seasons as Prilly Greene and Janice Goldwyn, adversarial editors at a New York press, experience personal change relating to the men (and absence of women) in their lives. Ultimately, each woman is pushed to confront her own image of herself, exploring her insecurities, the stagnation in her life and her reasons for having settled for low-fat love. Along with Prilly and Janice, a cast of offbeat characters’ stories are interwoven throughout the book. Low-Fat Love is underscored with a commentary about female identity-building and self-acceptance and how, too often, women become trapped in limited visions of themselves. Women’s media is used as a signpost throughout the book in order to make visible the context in which women come to think of themselves as well as the men and women in their lives. In this respect Low-Fat Love offers a critical commentary about popular culture and the social construction of femininity. Grounded in a decade of interview research with young women and written in a fun, chick-lit voice, the novel can be read for pleasure or used as supplemental reading in a variety of social science or women’s/gender studies courses as well as courses in popular culture, qualitative research or arts-based researc

“Leavy has managed to write an accessible, enjoyable read for undergrads which really allows for a nuanced analysis of the ways popular culture shape our understandings of gender and informs the everyday lives of men and women. Based on my students’ responses and my own enjoyment of the novel, I highly recommend it!” Dr. Barbara Gurr

Social Fictions Series Editorial Advisory Board

Carl Bagley, University of Durham, UK
Anna Banks, University of Idaho, USA
Carolyn Ellis, University of South Florida, USA
Rita Irwin, University of British Columbia, Canada
J. Gary Knowles, University of Toronto, Canada
Laurel Richardson, The Ohio State University (Emeritus), USA

Award Nominations

Emily Toth Best Single Work Award 2012 Pop Culture & American Culture Association

Outstanding Qualitative Book of the Year 2012 International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry

Outstanding Qualitative Book of the Year 2012 the Qualitative SIG of the American Educational Research Association

The Mirra Komarovsky Award for the Outstanding Sociology Book of the Year 2012 the Eastern Sociological Society

Publisher’s Website for the Book
Sense Publishers

To Buy the Book on Amazon.com
www.amazon.com

For Professors

Low-Fat Love in the Classroom:

https://www.sensepublishers.com/media/1737-LFL_Discussion_Questions_and_Assignments.pdf

American Circumstance in the Classroom:

 

 

 

 

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