Durable Goods

What’s it about?

This is a story about a twelve year old Army brat, who has recently lost her mother to cancer, coming to terms with an abusive father. Katie lives on an Army base in Texas with her father and her older sister, Diane. When Diane escapes their home in the middle of the night with her boyfriend, Dickie Mac, Katie goes along.

What was the inspiration?

I grew up terrified of my father, who was an officer in the U.S. Army. One day I was writing something about what it felt like to be the new girl all the time-I changed schools frequently. It was meant to be only a little essay, but there was so much feeling in it, I knew that I had a novel’s worth of things to say about life as an Army brat. The book is fiction, but many of the emotions in it are true. The book ended up making my father and me closer than we ever might have been otherwise; we are in fact very close now. This book, my first novel, is my favorite of all my books.


Durable Goods Book Cover
Random House – 1993

“Sometimes it aches so hard, the thought of all you can’t have anymore, your desk the third in the third row, the place where you buy licorice, the familiarity of the freckles on your friends’ faces, the smell of your own good bedroom. You will have to be the new girl again, the one always having to earn things.”

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