Please Proceed to the Nearest Exit

Publisher: McClelland & Stewart
In the tradition of Miriam Toews's A Complicated Kindness, Mona Awad's 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl, and Marjorie Celona's Y, and set against the shadow of the Vietnam War and the changing social mores of 1970s America, a sharply comic novel that follows the tumultuous coming of age of both a mother and daughter, at a time when womanhood itself was coming of age.

We're all just one bad decision away from disaster.
For as long as 14-year-old Robin Fisher can remember, she has lived by her insurance salesman father's credo, happy to live the American Dream and catalogue everyday calamities under "Bad Things that Happen to Other People." But life in 1970s Golden, California, doesn't prove so golden after her father deserts the family, setting in motion a series of events that results in Robin accidentally setting fire to an abandoned party house. Seemingly overnight, she discovers that earthquakes or the possibility of electrocution are nothing compared to the hazards of high school or coming home to a family that is suddenly one member short. As Robin struggles to keep an eye on her fixation with Bic lighters and her newly independent mother's own growing pains, she is drawn into the orbit of Carol "Jesus Freak" Closter, a vulnerable yet charismatic classmate whose friendship will challenge Robin in ways she could never have imagined. When Carol finally crosses a dangerous line, it's Robin who must make a heartbreaking decision of her own.
     Hilarious, insightful, and deeply moving, Please Proceed to the Nearest Exit illuminates those unforgettable moments in life when everything changes, whether we want it to or not.

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This will probably come as a surprise to many, but not once in all the time that I knew her did Carol Closter ask me if I believed in God. She simply assumed I did, the way I once assumed that everyone listened to the Carpenters. Which isn't to say that I didn't believe in God, only that I didn't believe in Carol's God....
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PRAISE FOR

Praise for Please Proceed to the Nearest Exit:

"A delightful, engaging and . . . inventive work of fiction. . . . Insightful and entertaining . . . a surprising pleasure to read." —Winnipeg Free Press