Late Night Library

Paula Bomer – Inside Madeleine

Late Night New York, hosted by Sonia Weiser in collaboration with the Franklin Park Reading Series in Brooklyn NY

This week’s podcast features Paula Bomer, acclaimed author of the collection Inside Madeleine. 

In this podcast, Paula reads her short story “Down the Alley” — a real gut-punch about, in Paula’s words, “a 12-year-old girl who’s miserable, her boobs just started emerging, and she’s realizing her dad’s crazy.”

On the car-ride home, she asked her mom, ‘Is Dad a fag?’
‘What? Jesus Christ! Where’d you get that?’
‘I’m just asking.’
‘Your father is not a fag. For God’s sake.’
‘Mike Turley says he’s a fag.’
‘Mike Turley! That family has no class. All those kids and they’re all wild and stupid. A woman shouldn’t have more kids than she can take care of.’ Polly’s mother’s face was red now.
‘Well then how come he doesn’t have a job?’
They were at a red light. Her mother turned to her. ‘Your father is mentally ill. He’s not a fag.’
‘Mentally ill?’
‘Remember that time we visited him in the hospital? And he was making belts and little stools with stenciled paintings on them?’
Polly remembered. Her father making crafts, like a boy in shop class. She liked the stuff he made. It was nice. But that had been years ago, around the time of her chicken pox. She remembered he seemed quiet, but he was always quiet.
‘You said he was sick. He was in the hospital.’
‘He was sick. Mentally sick. They gave him electroshock in the hospital, a hospital for mentally ill people.’
The way her mother said mentally ill made Polly angry.
‘He’s crazy. Dad’s crazy.’
“Mentally ill!” Her mother screamed. Then the light changed.

Listen to the full reading here…

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PAULA BOMER is the author of the collection Inside Madeleine (2014), called “remarkable” at Htmlgiant and “gut-wrenching” by Kirkus; the novel, Nine Months (2012), of which Library Journal warned “Mommy Lit Lovers will be horrified”; and the collection, Baby and Other Stories (2010), which received a starred review in Publisher’s Weekly and O Magazine put as number one in their “Titles to Pick Up Now,” calling it a “brilliant, brutally raw debut collection.” She grew up in South Bend, Indiana, and now lives in New York. Find out more about her at

Posted on: September 18, 2014 · Homepage, Late Night New York, Podcasts ·Tags: , , , , .

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