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The Nine Lives of Rose Napolitano
Cover of The Nine Lives of Rose Napolitano
The Nine Lives of Rose Napolitano
A Novel
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A deeply moving novel about a woman who thought she never wanted to be a mother—and the many ways that life can surprise us“An ode to possibility.” — The Washington PostRose...
A deeply moving novel about a woman who thought she never wanted to be a mother—and the many ways that life can surprise us“An ode to possibility.” — The Washington PostRose...
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Description-

  • A deeply moving novel about a woman who thought she never wanted to be a motherand the many ways that life can surprise us

    An ode to possibility.The Washington Post

    Rose Napolitano is fighting with her husband, Luke, about prenatal vitamins. She promised she’d take them, but didn’t. He promised before they got married that he’d never want children, but now he’s changed his mind. Their marriage has come to rest on this one question: Can Rose find it in herself to become a mother? Rose is a successful professor and academic. She's never wanted to have a child. The fight ends, and with it their marriage.

    But then, Rose has a fight with Luke about the vitamins—again. This time the fight goes slightly differently, and so does Rose’s future as she grapples with whether she can indeed give up the one thing she thought she knew about herself. Can she reimagine her life in a completely new way? That reimagining plays out again and again in each of Rose’s nine lives, just as it does for each of us as we grow into adulthood. What are the consequences of our biggest choices? How would life change if we let go of our preconceived ideas of ourselves and became someone completely new? Rose Napolitano’s experience of choosing and then choosing again shows us in an utterly compelling way what it means, literally, to reinvent a life and, sometimes, become a different kind of woman than we ever imagined.

    A stunning novel about love, loss, betrayal, divorce, death, a woman’s career and her identity, The Nine Lives of Rose Napolitano is about finding one’s way into a future that wasn't the future one planned, and the ways that fate intercedes when we least expect it.

Excerpts-

  • From the cover M A R C H  2 , 2 0 0 8

    Rose,  Life 3
     
     
    She is beautiful.
    I am awed by her perfection. The heady scent of her skin. “Addie,” I sigh. “Adelaide,” I try again, a faint whisper in the
    sterile air. “Adelaide Luz.”
    I raise her little head to my nose and inhale, long and needy, ignor‑ ing the sharp pain in my abdomen. I smile as I admire the soft fuzz of her hair.
    How I resisted having this little being in my arms! Before the preg‑ nancy and the birth, I would rage about the pressure to have a child— to Luke, to Mom, to Jill, to whoever would listen. The stranger next to me on the subway, the unsuspecting man on the sidewalk. I was just. So. Angry.
    But now?
    The snow falls in wet clumps against the windowpanes of the hos‑ pital room, everything around me shades of gray in dim light. I inch to the left, shift into a better position. The temperature drops and the snow turns papery, thick and dry like paste. She sleeps.
    My eyes are hers.
    “How could I not have wanted you?” I whisper into her tiny, curling ear, a pearly shell. “How could there be a life where you and I never met? If there is such a life, I wouldn’t want to live it.”
    Her eyelids twitch, pale, veined, transparent, her nose and mouth and forehead scrunching.
    “Did you hear what I said, sweet girl? You should only listen to the second part, about how your mother wouldn’t want a life without you. That’s all you need to know.”


    One
     
    A U G U S T  1 5 , 2 0 0 6

    Rose,  Life 1
     
    Luke is standing on my side of the bed. He never goes to my side of the bed. In his hand is a bottle of prenatal vitamins. He holds it up. He shakes it, a plastic rattle.
    The sound is heavy and dull because it is full. This is the problem.
    “You promised,” he says, even and slow. Uh‑oh. I am in trouble.
    “Sometimes I forget to take them,” I admit.
    He shakes the bottle again, a maraca in a minor key. “Sometimes?” The light through the curtains forms a halo around Luke’s upper body, the hand held high with the offending object outlined by the sun and glowing.
    I am in the doorway of our room, on my way to pull clothes from the drawers and the closet. Mundane things. Underwear. Socks. A top and a pair of jeans. Like any other morning. I would have folded the clothing across one arm and carried it to the bathroom so I could shower and change. Instead I stop, cross my arms over my chest, the heart inside it mangled with hurt and anger. “Did you count them, Luke?” My question is a cold snap in the humid August air.
    “So what if I did, Rose? What if I did count them? Can you blame me?”
    I turn my back on him, go to open the long drawer that contains underwear, bras, slips, camisoles, riffle through my things, disrupting the order of my clothing, everything growing more and more out of control. My heart starts pounding.
    “You promised me,” Luke says.
    I grab a pair of my granniest underwear. I want to scream. “Like promises mean anything in this marriage.”
    “That’s not fair.” “It’s perfectly fair.” “Rose—”
    “So I didn’t take the pills! I don’t want a baby. I never wanted a baby and I don’t want one now and I won’t want one ever and you knew that before we got engaged! I told you a thousand times! I’ve told you a million times since!”
    “You said you’d take the...

About the Author-

  • This is Donna Freitas’s first adult novel. She is the author of Consent: A Memoir of Unwanted Attention, as well as books for young adults. Donna has written for The Washington Post, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal, and has appeared on NPR and the TODAY show. She’s on the faculty at Fairleigh Dickinson University’s MFA program and lives in Brooklyn and Connecticut. 

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    Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
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