A surprising, wise, and funny novel set in the not-so-distant past that follows young Elray Mayhew on her committed childhood quest for invincibility, courage, trust and, above all, love.
On an outing to celebrate Elray's sixth birthday, her parents, Barkley and Jack, are killed in a freak roller-coaster accident in the Tunnel of Love. The day of their funeral, a pair of woefully unprepared uncles turn up to take charge of her: Uncle Harwood, a macho, hard-drinking photographer, and Ajax, a thirty-something cross-dressing uncle who introduces himself as 'Auntie'. Both love Elray in their own inexplicable way, and Elray's future now lies unpredictably in their hands.
But the real beating heart of this novel is the love story that develops between Elray and her friend Raoul. Their secret escapades take them from the crypts of the Washington Cathedral, where they first bump into each other on the third subterranean level, to a life-threatening swim in the waters of the Potomac River. Their childlike competitiveness soon develops into a touching relationship.
Leslie Marshall is a mistress of story-telling and in A GIRL COULD STAND UP, she has created a world entirely her own. A compulsive, big-hearted story, this novel is testament to the new idea of the imperfect family in its shining state.