Bearing Witness: Joyce Carol Oates Studies — A call for contributors to the inaugural issue of a scholarly journal on one of the towering figures of American literature.
Marya: A Life - Back in Print
A Bloodsmoor Romance: back in print
Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? Text and Criticism

After the Wreck, I Picked Myself Up, Spread my Wings, and Flew Away

After the Wreck, I Picked Myself Up, Spread my Wings, and Flew Away   

Author: Joyce Carol Oates
Year: 2006
Length: 304 pages
Preview: HarperCollins

Other Editions

After the Wreck 02After the Wreck 03After the Wreck 04


Publisher's Blurb

In the raw was how the world felt now. My feelings were raw, my thoughts were raw and hurtful like knife blades. . . . In the blue had been my place to hide, now In the raw there was nowhere to hide.

Jenna Abbott separates her life into two categories: before the wreck and after the wreck. Before the wreck, she was leading a normal life with her mom in suburban New York. After the wreck, Jenna is alone, trying desperately to forget what happened that day on the bridge. She's determined not to let anyone get close to her—she never wants to feel so broken and fragile again.

Then Jenna meets Crow. He is a powerfully seductive enigma, and Jenna is instantly drawn to him. Crow is able to break down the wall that Jenna has built around her emotions, and she surprises herself by telling him things she hasn't told anyone else. Can Jenna bring herself to face the memories she's tried so hard to erase?


Canada GeeseWent off somewhere and when I came back Mom was gone.

It wasn't my fault. Don't blame me.

We were crossing the Tappan Zee Bridge headed west. The sun in our eyes. The sun was this mad red eye inside a bank of sick-looking clouds. The sun was blinding, glaring off the car hood. Mom's car on the Tappan Zee high above the Hudson River where you can feel the wind shaking the car even on days when there isn't much wind on land, and I'm sliding a CD in and the mechanism rejects it which happens sometimes and is so damn annoying so I push "CD" again and this time the CD stays in and I'm shading my eyes against the glaring sun and suddenly I am seeing a baby deer in the lane just ahead!—or maybe a dog!—this shadow shape Mom doesn't seem to see and I'm panicked screaming Mom! Watch out! and (maybe) I am grabbing at the wheel or (maybe) I am trying to grab at the wheel or (maybe) Mom is the one to turn the wheel (maybe) because I am screaming or (maybe) did Mom see the baby deer or the dog or (maybe) it was a large bird like a hawk, a goose...

And the car sprouts wings and flies.

It did! Yes, it did.


  • Kliatt, July 2006, p. 12
  • Booklist, July 1, 2006, pp. 51-52
  • Philadelphia Inquirer, August 20, 2006
  • Publishers Weekly, August 21, 2006, pp. 69-70
  • Kirkus Reviews, September 15, 2006, p.962
  • The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, October 2006, p.88
  • Children's Bookwatch, October 2006
  • School Library Journal, October 2006, p.164
  • Voice of Youth Advocates, December 2006, p. 430
  • The Globe and Mail (Canada), December 2, 2006, p. D17


Prix Bel Ami Jeunesse, 2010 winner

Reading Guide