Author: Martha Tod Dudman
"I'm not telling you where I am. Don't try to find me."Remember Go Ask Alice? Augusta, Gone is the
memoir Alice's mother never wrote. A single parent, Martha Tod Dudman is sure she is giving her two
children the perfect life, sheltering them from the wild tumult of her own youth. But when Augusta turns
fifteen, things start to happen: first the cigarette, then the blue pipe and the little bag Augusta says is
aspirin. Just talking to her is like sticking your hand in the garbage disposal. Martha doesn't know if she's
confronting adolescent behavior, craziness, her own failures as a parent -- or all three. Augusta, Gone is
the story of a girl who is doing everything to hurt herself and a mother who would try anything to save her.
It is a sorrowful tale, but not a tragic one. Though the book charts a harrowing course through the troubled
waters of adolescence, hope -- that mother and daughter will be reunited and will learn to love one another
again -- steers them toward a shore of forgiveness and redemption. Written with darkly seductive grace,
Augusta, Gone conjures the dangerous thrill of being drawn into the heart of a whirling vortex. This daring
book will be admired for its lyricism, applauded for its courage, and remembered for its power. It demands
to be read from start to finish, in one breathless sitting.
Chapter 1It wasn't always like this. We used to have wonderful times. There were times when I felt as if I
had won two prizes: my two children walking up the road with me. My girl. My boy. Living together in
Maine.There were times when our world seemed perfectly balanced. Later it's easy to remember, when
you're mad at yourself and furious with how things came out, to remember only yelling in the kitchen on a
winter night and feeling overwhelmed at the office. But I have to remember, too, the happy times when we
were all tucked up in bed reading Mary Poppins on a winter evening. When we were at the beach with
Cynthia and Bea and Sam in summer. When Augusta and I were looking at catalogues together on the
green couch while Jack was building buildings in the dining room.Those things are all true, too.I raised
the kids alone. Their dad and I divorced when they were little, split up when they were two and three and
got divorced a year later. When people ask me why we got divorced I say I don't think you have to explain
why people get divorced. I think you have to explain how people stay married. How people can stand
each other day after day, year after year, rubbing against each other like two bad pennies. But actually I
know the exact moment when I decided I had to get away from Ben.We'd been in Boston at his parents'
house for Christmas. We were driving home in the beat-up blue Ford my mother had given us when she
got a new one. At least it ran, unlike the rest of the cars that Ben had parked in our driveway to work on
when he got around to it. The old green SAAB that just needed some brake work. The red VW that
suddenly one day just stopped working.Of course, the driver's door of the Ford didn't open. You could
either slide across from the passenger side or else crawl in through the driver's window. I was starting to
mind things like that.We'd been at his parents' house, which was not like my parents' house. Too many
doilies on things. The TV on. Three cats. It was January. It was very cold. We were driving home with
both kids in their car seats in the backseat. The car was a mess, full of our junk. Clothes. Blankets. The
heat didn't work right so we had the kids bundled up. Juice boxes. Animal crackers. Chewed-on bagels.
Christmas wrapping paper. Stuff.We were coming over the bridge at Bucksport. Ben had to get to work.
We were all tired, anxious to get home. He was driving too fast. There was a cop waiting at the Bucksport
side and as we slid around the curve he flashed his lights."Oh great," Ben said, pulling over opposite the
graveyard.I didn't say anything."This is typical," he told me, rolling down his window, letting in the cold
hard Bucksport air. "We weren't going any faster than anyone else. They always stop people like
us."That was the moment.I wasn't people like us. Okies in a beat blue Ford. Full of junk and dirty-faced
children. I wasn't like this. I'd grown up in Washington. I was meant for something. My children weren't
people like us. If I could have, I would have taken both children, right then, one under each arm, out of
that wreck of a car and marched down Route 1 tromp tromp tromp down the highway past the narrow
houses up to that flat high place between Bucksport and Ellsworth where you can see so far.It was a little
more complicated than that, but eventually I did leave him. We both stayed in Maine and shared the
raising of the children, but most of it fell...
Martha Tod Dudman
Martha Tod Dudman is the author of Expecting to Fly and Augusta, Gone, which was adapted into an
award-winning Lifetime Television movie. She lives in Maine.<br/>
and BitchAugusta, Gone is entirely unexpected. It is a story about wild things and where they go. Martha
Tod Dudman's writing is a shock -- so amazing, so simple, so precise, so correct. Imagine an
understated story about the most overwrought horror, and about a love so big that it is stifled by its own
force. This book alarmed and devastated me, it made me laugh and made me wonder -- and it told me
why and how. Augusta, Gone may be mistaken for a mother-daughter story, a coolly sentimental tale of
love and reconciliation between generations. But it is really about life and how it happens, how, in all its
devastation, it just keeps happening: like mother, like daughter, like hell.
Augusta, Gone is a book long overdue, the most moving, honest memoir to come along in a very long
time. I cried when I read this book, for all the misunderstood parents and their lost children.
Martha Tod Dudman reveals one of life's best-kept secrets: no one can rip out your heart like your own
child. Augusta, Gone is a shock and a wonder, a two-ton truck on a mountain road without brakes, a
tough, poignant tale of the revenge of the life cycle, in its ironic glory.
and Do Not Go GentleAugusta, Gone is a devastating, powerful, frightening, lovely book that explores the
enormous and mysterious bond between mothers and daughters. When I finished reading this book, I did
two things: I called my own mother and then I hugged my own daughter, hard, both in the hopes of
holding on to that elusive something that keeps us together, and that always threatens to drive us apart.
I thought I'd heard everything about the anxiety, guilt, weariness, vulnerability and love that go with the
territory of motherhood. But no one -- and I mean no one -- tells the story as truly as Martha Tod
Dudman. Augusta, Gone is like a powerful spike that pierces the hypocrisy and sentimentality of all the
myths that surround motherhood. This courageous book takes us to the heart of life itself, which does not
go as we expect or plan.