Rebecca is a blogging buddy of mine. She’s an Aussie who writes her always fun and smart posts over at rebeccaberto.com. Late last year, Rebecca took the plunge and self-published her debut novella, Precise. If the glowing reviews are anything to go by, this is going to be the first of many amazing stories from Ms. Berto.
So without further do, I introduce you to Rebecca and Precise.
Rebecca: Thanks for giving me the space. I promise I won’t start getting all mushy, because I’d like to introduce you to an excerpt from my debut book about one psycho, whacky mother who elicits this response from Cristina of Cristina’s Book Reviews:
“I just wanted to scream the famous line, ‘NO WIRE HANGERS’ from the movie Mommy Dearest. This is that book. It’s so intense that it makes you absolutely uncomfortable.”
Excerpt from Precise:
“Where are you going, Katie?” Mom calls, putting on her hot pink rubber gloves.
Crap. I shut my eyes. “Just to the store.”
“Sit,” she says, draping the gloves over the faucet.
“Were you asking?”
“Did it sound like I was asking?” She clenches her teeth, and fixes her hair, which won’t move anyway because it’s hairsprayed in place. “Yes. So sit.”
“What’s been up the last few weeks? You seem …” I leave out ‘manic’ or ‘extra moody’. They would be the wrong words to tell a person with my Mom’s issues.
She walks to the kettle, the water steaming and bubbling down as she pours it over the tea bags in our cups. “You, I believe. Let’s talk.”
“I’m sorry about this morning.”
And I am. The feeling has been pulling me down, like hands of the undead scratching at my calves to consume me. No matter that she’s hated me for my entire twenty-two years, I still want.
I want my mom to love me.
“What do you want me to say? I tell you to look after this house since I’m doing you a favor and you spit in my face. If you know you’re sick, sit by a bucket and don’t move. How stupid can you be?”
“Do you want me to get your anti-depressants? They might help—”
“You sound like a sixteen-year-old again,” she replies.
“I’m just trying to—”
“Still speaking over me,” she says, meeting my eyes and scoffing. “You are still that worthless little girl.”
“Please, Mom,” I begin, but stop. I’m speaking out of turn again. Mom’s done when she tells you she’s done. Right now, when I’m worried she hasn’t been taking her anti-depressants, I should be tucking in my chin and trying my best to keep her happy. It works—sometimes.
“This is about you and your tiresome mistakes,” Mom says, balancing our teacups. She places one in front of me, snatching up a nearby coaster and quickly placing it under my teacup. She does the same with hers. Wouldn’t want to ruin the tablecloth.
Mom looks away. “Just—wait here a minute, will you.”
It’s not a question. With my mom, questions are statements, ninety percent of the time. She emerges from the other room with her hand behind her.
“Now don’t get your panties in a bunch,” she says, a smile playing at her lips that tells me otherwise, “but I had a feeling, so …”
Mom takes a breath and produces a box. A pink box. With a picture of an electronic stick on it. And the words ‘two lines’, ‘proven results’ and ‘test’.
“Just wait!” Mom calls when I scrape the chair legs against the tiles to leave.
She’s fast. How did she even pre-empt this moment and buy a pregnancy test?
“Are you stalking my life or habits or something?” I hold up a hand in surrender. “I’m not pregnant, so you can count your lucky stars you won’t be getting a grandchild any time soon.”
She sighs. Like her chest deflates so fast someone must have popped her with a pin. “First I had to get Paul and you married to stop talk about you giving yourself up to your boyfriend so young. Do you know what Aunty used to say for years? Bet not. You don’t care about my feelings. Now you try to kick me again by getting pregnant? How will you look after a baby?”
Mom glazes her eyes over my face, my shoulders, my body. It seems as though I should try to be a smaller person. That way she’d feel better.
“You need to wait until you are worthy of having a child of your own.”
She pats her hair down, which is rock hard. Her action is pointless, but she’s worried about appearances as usual. “And someone like you who’s responsible for killing my babies—your own siblings—is not worthy.”
Rebecca Berto writes stories that straddle the line between Literary and Tear Your Heart Out. She gets a thrill when her readers are emotional reading her stories, and gets even more of a kick when they tell her so. She’s strangely imaginative, spends too much time on her computer, and is certifiably crazy when she works on her fiction.
Rebecca Berto lives in Melbourne, Australia with her boyfriend and their doggy.
Are you intrigued by the excerpt? What a last line, eh? I’ve started reading Precise; Katie’s mother is an abusive wackjob. I’m hooked already. Head over to Goodreads and put Precise on your TBR if you’re feeling so inclined.