How does a person reconcile who they have been with who they are becoming? In Diana Sperrazza’s stunning literary fiction debut, My Townie Heart [Post Hill Press], Laura DiStefano grapples with this age-old question as she finds herself torn between dreams of a new countercultural life and the undertow of her dysfunctional family.
Set against a colorful and claustrophobic backdrop of small town, blue-collar Massachusetts in the 1970’s, My Townie Heart follows Laura as she flunks out of university, moves back home, and is forced to immerse herself in the problems of a family and a place she’s long hoped to escape.
When Laura’s “hardcore townie” sister, Jane, foolishly winds up pregnant, the trauma of Jane’s devastating childhood sexual assault resurfaces as both sisters hurl towards impending adulthood.
No longer belonging to the place she is from – or, as she’s learned at college, anywhere else – Laura develops agoraphobia as a symptom of escalating uncertainty. After failing her first attempt to leave home, will the world beyond ever feel safe enough again?
In My Townie Heart, the past, present, and future collide as generational and class conflicts intensify in the wake of 1970’s counterculture. With great heart and dark humor, Sperrazza’s debut is a gripping exposition of the far-reaching impact of our origins, the ongoing disparities between America’s “haves and have-nots,” and one young woman’s navigation of divided loyalties and decisions that will change the course of her life forever.
Of her inspiration to pen My Townie Heart, Sperrazza explains simply: “My coming of age was harsh, full of contradictions and would take me many years to understand. I wrote this novel as a way of coming to terms with where I’m from, and to expose what a lie it is, when we’re told that class doesn’t matter.”
Meet the Author
Emmy-award winning journalist DIANA SPERRAZZA was raised in a blue-collar neighborhood in West Springfield, Massachusetts, the eldest daughter of a family dealing with generations of alcoholism. In and out of college for many years, she waitressed, cleaned houses and made various forays into the counterculture until she moved to New Mexico and discovered journalism.
She settled in Washington, D.C., where she spent nearly thirty years working in television news and production. She currently lives in New York City and works as a senior executive producer for the crime channel, Investigation Discovery. She holds a MFA from Bennington College, and is a grateful member of St. Marks in the Bowery, an Episcopal church in the East Village.