THE BOOK OF FRED, narrated by four quirky characters, tells the story of Mary Fred Anderson, a teenager from a rural fundamentalist sect who is placed in foster care in the Washington, D.C., suburbs with librarian Alice Cullison. As Mary Fred tries to adjust to the oddities of Alice's unemployed brother Roy, her fifteen-year-old daughter Heather, known as Puffin, and their weird friends and neighbours - transsexuals, Unitarians, and aromatherapists - she begins to have a subtle influence on the lives of those around her. Soon, Mary Fred is forced to question everything she has been raised to believe in, including the strange doctrines of the prophet Fred. When confronted with a series of apocalyptic events, Mary Fred must make some tough choices, and the powerful climax of the novel forces her to decide what a family really means. THE BOOK OF FRED is a dark, funny but also deeply serious examination of family values at the end of our century.
Abby Bardi was born and raised in Chicago. She attended Occidental College.
She went on to get an M.A. in English from the University of Maryland, and in 1981, moved to Japan, with her then-husband, to teach. In 1984, she moved to England, where she spent six years also teaching English and occasionally singing both solo and in groups, In 1990, she returned to the Washington area, and in 1993 began teaching at Prince George's Community College, where she is now a tenured professor.
Sheri Holman author of The Dress Lodger The Book of Fred is one of the most engaging and original novels I've read in ages. Laugh-out-loud funny, deeply compassionate, frighteningly real, it is that rarest of all modern novels: a book that actually gives you hope.
Howard Norman author of The Bird Artist and The Haunting of L. Please make a reservation on a long-distance train, just to read this novel! With rare insight, acerbic wit, and a bold storytelling voice, Abby Bardi brings a group of marginalized folks into the center of our imaginations. The Book of Fred is an edgy, hilarious family strory, and even manages quiet wisdom within all its wild incidents and general cacophony. Every character could easily speak Henry James' wonderful sentence: "live all you can." Abby Bardi writes with brilliant pathos -- she's got a dramatic and comic genius.
Jennifer Weiner author of Good in Bed Quirky, timely, warmhearted, and wise, The Book of Fred offers an original take on a timeless question; what does "family" mean? Abby Bardi answers with the many small moments of grace that illuminate her tale, as the four unforgettable characters move through divorce, alienation, bureaucracy, and high school, breaking apart, falling down, and emerging stronger than ever.