“Elray Mayhew is one of the truly original literary heroines of the past few decades. . . . A Girl Could Stand Up is the kind of novel that one immediately takes to heart, a remarkable storygoofy and bittersweet.” June Sawyers, The San Francisco Chronicle
A Girl Could Stand Up
978-0-8021-4139-2 • $14.00 • Paperback • June 2004
A Girl Could Stand Up is a novel that sparkles with originality and seduces with offbeat charm. In a voice that combines an exuberant imagination with an undercurrent of wry wisdom, Leslie Marshall has brought to life the remarkable Elray Mayhewa child-woman who will surely become one of literature’s most unforgettable young heroines.
At an amusement park outing to celebrate Elray’s sixth birthday, Elray’s parents, Barkley and Jack, are killed in a freak accident while riding through the Tunnel of Love. In the aftermath of this disaster Elray finds herself the ward of two hapless unclesHarwood, a macho, hard-drinking professional photographer, and Ajax, a thirty-something cross-dresser who prefers to present himself as an “aunt.” As this unlikely trio struggles to process grief and forge some version of a coherent “family,” they are joined by a delightful cast of characters, including Rena, an Irish attorney who is trying the family’s case against the amusement park, and a glamorous but unruly relative who resurfaces after having seemingly died thirty years earlier.
But the beating heart of this novel is the love story that develops between Elray and her friend Raoul. When they bump into each other deep in the crypts of Washington National Cathedral, they find that they are in pursuit of the same quality: invincibility. Joining forces in a youthful quest, they embark on a series of rituals and wild adventures that challenge their nerve and teach them much about themselves and each other. In the course of discovering themselves, Elray and Raoul also unearth important truths about the nature of courage and strength, and the transforming power of love and family.
Marshall, a true storyteller, has created a world that is hers alone. In it, a new model for family emerges. Her eccentric characters are so real, they will get under your skin and stay there long after you finish the bookyour own ghost family for life.