July 2019
Memoir of a Delinquent Girlhood
by Maureen Stanton
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
July 16, 2019
Hardcover, 240 pages
Body Leaping Backward is the haunting and beautifully drawn story of a self-destructive girlhood, of a town and a nation overwhelmed in a time of change, and of how life-altering a glimpse of a world bigger than the one we come from can be.

" Written with sensual, poetic, and evocative prose, this remarkable memoir is an honest exploration of what it means to come of age in the quiet wreckage of a broken home, when social norms were shifting and it was so very easy to fall perilously between the cracks. A deeply moving, timely, and important memoir.” 
—Andre Dubus III, author of Townie and Gone So Long 

"I read Maureen Stanton’s memoir with respect and appreciation. I am proud and heartbroken at the story she tells—proud that she reached a point where she could write it all down, and heartbroken at how much courage and resilience is necessary to survive.” 
—Dorothy Allison, author of Two or Three Things I Know for Sure and Bastard out of Carolina 

Dear Reader,

For years I’ve taught memoir writing to undergraduates, kids in their late teens, or in their early twenties, who’ve recently left adolescence behind. So often these lovely students write about their coming-of-age experiences. I’ve seen that no matter what decade, teenhood is an exciting but fraught passage. The particulars may differ--no smart phones or internet--but the girl I gave voice to in  Body Leaping Backward  shares with today’s teens many poignant challenges—initiation into sex and desire, finding their identities and expressing those selves, dodging (or not) social temptations like drinking and drugs, and finally, learning how to speak confidently and proudly in the world. My aim in telling this story was to give readers a look inside the heart and mind of a teenage girl, one who lost her way for a while, as the nation did, too, during the tumultuous 1970s, a girl who strayed into troubled waters, but who eventually regained her footing by asking for help, knowing she needed it, knowing  needed it. Some parts of the book were fun to write, others were difficult, even a bit embarrassing, but I wanted to offer a deeply honest account, hopefully to strike truths that will broaden our understanding of girls’ lives. 

Warmest regards,

Maureen Stanton