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Another Life Altogether

Elaine speaks with NCPC’s Kelsey Tokar about the importance of helping youth find their inner strength to do the right thing, and the struggles LGBTQ youth may face growing up.

Elaine Beale


A keenly observed depiction of the effects of a mother’s mental illness on her young daughter, Another Life Altogether is a profoundly moving, funny, and ultimately heartrending coming-of-age story.

After years of living in the shadow of her mother’s mental illness, thirteen-year-old Jesse Bennett is given a fresh chance at happiness when her family moves to a village in northern England. But just as it seems that she might be able to build a perfect life for herself after befriending two of her new school’s most popular girls, her mother’s worsening mental state and the secret Jesse fiercely guards about herself threaten to destroy her fragile stability. Caught in the storm of her mother’s moods, her father’s desperation, and her classmates’ cruel social hierarchies, Jesse is forced to choose between doing what’s right and preserving her hope for a normal life.

At the heart of a maddening, eccentric, and ultimately lovable family—from her manic mother and her long-suffering father, to her blowsy Aunt Mabel and Uncle Ted, a comically inept criminal—Jesse is an utterly sympathetic narrator who navigates the ups and downs of adolescence with insight, emotional vulnerability, and a wickedly sharp sense of humor.

Biography - Elaine Beale grew up in East Yorkshire, England. She has an MFA in creative writing from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, and was the winner of the 2007 Poets & Writers California Exchange writing contest in fiction. She lives in Oakland, California where she misses the British sense of humor but not the British weather.

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