About the Book
When she was 12, Amanda’s best friend’s family gifted her a Christmas stocking stuffed with a carton of cigarettes. She was thrilled. The cigarettes meant she would no longer have to steal and smoke her mother’s uncool brand. And the stocking—though it didn’t have her name stitched along the top like everyone else’s—meant, for the moment at least, that she belonged. She hadn’t felt that way since before her free-spirited mother left her corporate-climbing father with 4-year-old Amanda and her older sister in tow. Before her father remarried a woman who never wanted children. Before her mother was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Before Amanda and her sister were left to largely fend for themselves.
More than three decades later, with the death of her parents as a catalyst, Amanda began sifting through the relics of her family’s fragile past. She wondered if the chance objects she and her mother and father had held on to—a faded doodle of a girl gathering apples, broken knickknacks, worn family photos and her parents’ journals—might unravel their long-standing and tightly woven narrative and tell a different story.
Searching through the eyes of “The Gathering Girl,” Amanda Irene Rush discovers an alternate truth buried within the deepest roots of her family tree. She demonstrates how the untangling of a twisted past can be both beautiful and brutal, and how the journey can ultimately lead to forgiveness.
About the Author
Amanda Irene Rush’s writing has appeared in Vanderbilt Press’ 2008 anthology “The Way We Work,” “The Bellevue Literary Review,” Brevity’s Nonfiction Blog, “The Saturday Evening Post” online magazine, “Peatsmoke” and “Black Fork Review.” One of her short stories, “Too Good to Be Forgotten,” was nominated in 2022 for the Pushcart Prize. She earned a Bachelor of Arts from Ohio Wesleyan University, where she studied ancient Greek and existentialism. Years later, she earned a Master of Science in nursing from the Ohio State University. Years later still, she earned an MFA in creative nonfiction from Ashland University. A psychiatric nurse practitioner since 2008, she now runs a solo practice in Columbus, Ohio. She lives and writes in bucolic Champaign County, Ohio, in a house she and her husband built out of discarded things. She is caretaker to four cats, a dog and a tortoise.