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Book Description

This is the story of Johanna von Eschenbach, who comes into the world just as her parent’s marriage is ending. Overshadowed by her glamorous French mother and her gorgeous, over-achieving older sister, Johanna grows up in a hothouse Europeanized household, incongruously located in a small university town in the American Midwest.

Her mother works as a professor of Art History while devoting every free moment to pursuing her passion as a gifted pianist. Her father is from Montana and serves in the Marines. Johanna’s cowgirl self-image is formed spending every vacation, summer, and winter, on her father’s ranch. That image is more real to her than all her lived experience with her mother in the Midwest.

She sees herself as an outsider who doesn’t fit in anywhere – too nerdy to be a cowgirl, too athletic to be a nerd, not feminine enough to be a real woman. But like all of us, she longs to belong, to be socially accepted. And as is so often the case, the harder she tries, the less she succeeds. There’s a bit of Johanna in all of us.

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