“Every knock is a boost.” That is the motto of Ma, the unhinged and controlling matriarch of the Napolitano family. Ma stomps through life on her own terms, teaching what she considers life’s most valuable skills to her twin boys and sickly, sheltered daughter, Lauren.
Ma’s peculiar ideas about love, survival, and parenting directly mold her children; her lessons include using whatever means necessary to get by (even if those means include theft, arson, harassment, and fraud), doing what it takes to even the score, the importance of blood ties, the solace of a stiff drink, and the cold and calculating art of revenge. S.W.A.K. is a coming-of-age story that follows Lauren as she struggles through a tangled and complex mother-daughter relationship to the creation of her own identity and worldview outside of Ma’s influence.
Uncovering a treacherous secret is the ultimate test of Lauren’s resilience as she is faced with acknowledging a heart-wrenching fact or living in a dangerous world of denial. At her core, Lauren possesses her own treasure, as fiery and strong as her mother’s. Its brightness and vivacity radiates from the page as Lauren seeks to find the strength to build her own life in a future of possibility.
In the tradition of The Glass Castle, the novel chronicles Lauren’s journey as she finds the courage to understand the dangers and limitations of her family, and move beyond the life she has been dealt― traveling out of the familiar dysfunction of her upbringing and into a new world of opportunity and love. S.W.A.K. is a luminous story of family and faith. At times quirky and frightening, this powerful novel demonstrates triumph over the worst kind of betrayal and reinforces that while you cannot choose where you come from, you can choose who you become.
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