HEAD OVER FEET IN LOVE by Patti Smith.
Becca is a lot of things—feminist, teacher, wannabe author, person with a bipolar condition, lover of all things Gen X—but she has never been in love. Becca and Mike begin a friendship that neither realizes they need. Becca shares her unique life view with Mike, who becomes her friend, her muse, and the love of her life…
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What’s it about?
Rebecca Slater is running away from a stay in a mental health facility, a writing career that never got off the ground, and a dying best friend. She has nowhere to go, but nothing can stop her—until she crashes her car into a tree (possibly on purpose, but probably not). Without a cell phone and in a strange town, Becca starts knocking on doors looking for someone to help her. The only person who answers her knock is Mike Riley.
Becca is a lot of things—feminist, teacher, wannabe author, person with a bipolar condition, lover of all things Gen X—but she has never been in love. Becca and Mike begin a friendship that neither realizes they need. Becca shares her unique life view with Mike, who becomes her friend, her muse, and the love of her life.
When Becca thinks Mike is dead she impulsively runs away again, this time to a place where she thinks no one will ever find her. She prepares for a life without her true love, committed to remaining mentally healthy and strong, continuing a story she now believes will have an unhappy ending.
Like other people with mental health issues, Becca struggles but also lives her life. She keeps moving forward no matter how many setbacks her brain deals, and that’s really the focus of her story: that mental health issues are part of your life, but not the total. You can still fall in love, have a great life, tell your story.
And have a happy ending.
Why Should You Read It? Well, ‘cuz it starts like this—
I’m driving away. I’m driving away as fast and as far as I can. I’m never going back. I’m going to drive until I get so far up north that no one will ever find me. I’m going to— Except that I’m not. I can’t leave home now. Not with my best friend in a coma, not with my parents tripped out, not with all that’s going on. Not with bipolar disorder and anxiety and everything else. I’m still driving away, mind you, but I’ll have to go back. As soon as the rain lets up, I’ll turn around and head back to US-23. It’s really pouring though, and I don’t like driving in the rain, so I might have to find a hotel and stay the night. I’ll have to call my parents, except I don’t have a phone anymore, and with Rick in the hospital, it all means— It means that I have no way to call anyone when my car hits the tree. Goddamn it! My air bag merrily pops out at me, and I start to cough as I inhale the powder that comes out with it. Without thinking about whether or not I might be hurt, I throw open the door and climb out of my Jeep. As the rain soaks me, I look at my Jeep and let out a groan. Goddamn it. Steam pours out of the engine, and the car wheezes. Shit. Don’t cars sometimes explode in the movies when steam is rushing out of them? This could suck. I grab my purse and Red Wings jersey out of the car, cautiously backing away. I reach for my cell phone before remembering that it had been with Rick when his canoe upended on the Huron River, and it changed everything. Shit.
Okay, Becca, don’t panic. Don’t panic. Think. Where are the nearest houses where you can— The car burps, and smoke puffs from under the hood. I swear the Jeep looks mad. It belches again and then kinda rumbles at me. One headlight winks at me before it goes out. The Jeep makes a noise I have never heard it make before. Okay, now we panic.
Who am I?
An enthusiastic Gen-Xer and feminist, Patti Smith writes about the generation sandwiched in-between the Boomers and Millennials. Lover of all things flannel, grunge, and slacker (although she is not a slacker herself!), Patti focuses her books on women in their 40s facing major challenges in life and love. Her heroines are independent women who don’t want to follow the life path of marriage-children but rather forge their own paths. Often they, like their writer, live with mental health issues but make it clear that they are not their illness and that their lives are full and rich.
Patti lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and is a former legal aid lawyer and current special education teacher. She is the author of two books: Images of America–Downtown Ann Arbor and A History of the People’s Food Co-op Ann Arbor and is co-authoring Forgotten Ann Arbor (due out in 2019). She writes for as many local publications as she can and is involved in many local commissions and activities. She is a frequent public speaker around town and is founder/curator of GROWN FOLKS READING (story time for adults) and HERSAY (all female variety show). She lives with her husband, Ken Anderson, her own Gen-X hero.
Where Can You Find Me?