Twenty-four-year-old elementary schoolteacher Annie Harper
is left behind in Tacoma, Washington, when her boyfriend, David, is shipped
overseas. Wrestling with the complex emotions tied to his absence, she begins
writing a confessional memoir, imagining it as a moving account of “the woman
at home.” But instead of writing a touching account of life on the home front,
a tale of integrity and patience peppered with earnest love letters and fat,
juicy tears, Annie lives life without David in ways she didn’t anticipate.
She spends more time with her best friend, Gus, begins
volunteering at a local retirement center, and adopts a pet chicken. Even as
she misses David enormously between his sparse e-mails and choppy phone calls,
she struggles with conflicted feelings about their long-distance relationship,
her own identity and family history, and the ideological underpinnings of a war
that’s exerting such a force on her life.
Told through raw, rough draft chapters of Annie’s
memoir-in-progress, Miss Harper Can Do It
is a funny and poignant story of what it means to be loyal versus what it means
to be in love. In Annie, Berentson has rendered a quirky young woman who copes
with loss and stress in unexpected ways, only wavering briefly on the brink of
self-pity and never losing her sense of humor.
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