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Good Girls Gone Bad : A Novel

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  • Edition: Reprint
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2003-10-02
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publications

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Janey Fabre knows she isn't the average thirty-something. After all, she has found herself stalking her ex-boyfriend on more than one occasion. But when she joins group therapy, she is convinced that the other women she meets are ten times loopier than she is. Suzanna prefers the company of her dog to human beings. Laura is a record-breaking gold medalist in the one-night-stand Olympics. And Bethany, a forty-year-old divorcee, still lives with her mother. Not to mention Valentine, a painfully shy beauty who binges on DoveBars; Ivy, a sweet-talking southern belle who binges on Botox; and Natasha, who wears a face mask to protect herself against unseen airborne pathogens. Over time, Janey and the girls concoct an outrageous scheme for asserting themselves, and suddenly they're embroiled in a reckless and exhilarating misadventure that wreaks havoc on their lives but ultimately illuminates the power of loyalty and the true meaning of friendship.

Author Biography

Jillian Medoff is the author of the richly praised Hunger Point. A former fellow at the MacDowell Colony, the Blue Mountain Center, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, she lives in Brooklyn, where she is hard at work on a new novel.

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The New copy of this book will include any supplemental materials advertised. Please check the title of the book to determine if it should include any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

The Used, Rental and eBook copies of this book are not guaranteed to include any supplemental materials. Typically, only the book itself is included. This is true even if the title states it includes any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.


Good Girls Gone Bad
A Novel

Chapter One

We met in Group, the girls and I. There were seven of us when we were with Dr. Hensen, then six when the Dream Weaver disappeared. The Weaver dropped out of sight right after we killed Tobias, so I figured she'd resurface once everything calmed down. But that was weeks ago and she still hasn't shown up.

I feel bad about Tobias, but his death was an accident and group therapy has taught me not to feel guilty about circumstances beyond my control. My feelings about the Weaver's disappearance, however, are much more personal and thus more distressing. When my mother left, I considered every conceivable explanation: kidnapping, drunk driver, a secret affair. But we never got a ransom call or found her body. Nor was there evidence she loved another man. "We had normal married problems," my dad told the sheriff. "But we loved each other." To which the sheriff replied, "Sometimes, Zack, disappearin' ain't got nothing to do with love."

I've harbored fantasies of my mother all my life. She's poolside at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel wearing black wraparound glasses and sipping piña coladas with Marcelo, her Pilates instructor. Or she shows up at my door wearing a sheer bathing suit and perky sun visor, having just sailed the world with a Greek fishing magnate. Since she left me nothing else, her legacy was my compulsive need to fantasize, even now, so many years after the fact.

When I'm in line in the deli, for instance, getting my morning coffee, I concoct elaborate scenarios with the handsome doctors, lawyers, and CEOs who cut in front of me. In my mind, I'm big-breasted and red-headed, and have a wicked, sexy smile. When I say, "I believe I was ahead of you," the D/L/CEO stutters at the sight of my beauty, asks for my phone number, and then we get married. Sometimes we have four kids, move to New Jersey, then retire in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Sometimes one of us tragically dies in a small commuter plane. But both of us understand that I am the love of his life, the woman against whom all others are measured.

In reality, I'm petite, with a boyish figure that would be very striking on someone taller, but because I'm so short I look like an underdeveloped teenager wearing her mother's ill-fitting clothing. Like many actuaries, I favor boxy brown suits and sensible pumps. I also have boxy brown hair and wear oversize glasses with very thick lenses that make my eyes look smaller than they really are. I don't wear contacts because sticking a plastic disk in my eye seems unnecessarily painful. I don't mind the idea of hurting myself. However, I'd rather do it with an impressive flourish that has the potential for media interest rather than hunched over my sink performing a mundane morning ritual.

Boxy brown suits and sensible pumps reflect the conservative nature of actuarial science. It is not, as a rule, a sexy profession. I design complex reserve models for workmen's compensation and other types of employee benefit plans at a Big Five accounting firm. This means I look at a company's claims history and develop financial paradigms that illustrate their future liability (i.e., how much they will pay out to policyholders over time).

When I was growing up in Welter, the pulp had no formal workers' comp plans, or rather, the plans they did have rarely paid out, so I think it's ironic that I'm designing them now. In Group, Dr. Hensen said he didn't think it was ironic at all, which was a signal for me that it was time to change the subject.

I like being an actuary. I work with statistical theory and laws of probability that are rational and judicious. When I apply these laws to a mathematical model, I step out of real time and space and move into a zone devoid of emotional entanglement. When I'm in this zone, I can lose myself completely, but don't indulge in fantasies in which mothers return and strangers propose. Nor do I shed any tears.

I don't know why the Weaver disappeared, but I'm sure it has to do with Tobias--the fact that we killed him, I mean. I also think it has to do with love, because when I met her, that's what she, like all the Group girls, was seeking. But most important, I think she left because of me, since I was the one who led us to Tobias in the first place.

So these are the facts: Tobias seduced me, and I fell in love. Tobias dumped me, and I met the girls. Tobias was killed, and the Dream Weaver went missing. Much of this, of course, is very upsetting, especially since I may have been spared guilt about Tobias's death, but I haven't been spared grief. To this end, I grieve the Weaver's disappearance the way I grieve my long-lost mother. I also grieve for Tobias, and will for the remaining forty eight years of my life, plus or minus five years (rough 95 percent confidence interval with 2.96 standard deviations). This is assuming of course (the force of mortality being what it is) that I don't take matters into my own hands.


The girlsand I call Suzanna the Dream Weaver because when it was her turn to share, she offered long dream sequences with entire casts of characters and fully realized plot points, all of which she seemed to be making up as she went along. I hate it when people recount their dreams in real life, but nothing compared to the agony of listening to the Weaver drone on in Group.

The Weaver has electric red hair that frizzes around her head, severely arched brows that give her a look of perpetual WOW ...

Good Girls Gone Bad
A Novel
. Copyright © by Jillian Medoff. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Excerpted from Good Girls Gone Bad: A Novel by Jillian Medoff
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