The last thing eighteen-year-old Ann Leigh remembers is running from her boyfriend in a thick Nebraska cornfield. This morning she’s staring down a cool Italian sunrise, an entire continent from the life she once knew. The events of the eighteen months in between have inexplicably gone missing from her memory.
All at once she’s living with Tommy, an attractive, young foreigner asking for her continued love. Though he’s vaguely familiar, she recalls a boy named Shane in America who she reluctantly agreed to marry. Juggling a new world while her old one is still M.I.A is difficult enough without the terrifying movie scenes spinning a dizzy loop in her mind: glimpses of a devastating house fire, a romance gone wrong, an unplanned pregnancy, and a fractured family – each claiming to be part of who she once was – a girl and a past somehow discarded.
Ann Leigh must collect the pieces of herself to become whole again, but she doesn’t know who to trust especially when Tommy’s lies become too obvious to ignore. And above all, her heart aches to discover what became of the child she may or may not have given birth to.
The Making of Nebraska Brown tells the story of one girl’s coming apart from the inside and the great lengths she’ll go to reclaim herself and find her way home.
He was kissing me, and I couldn’t make it stop. His breath smelled like radishes; I wanted to vomit. He kept saying how he was crazy about me. I wanted to will myself deaf. Instead, I picked a fight. Pretended I was angry about him having to work at the restaurant on my birthday. I didn’t care all that much. It was just an excuse to pull away, turn away from him. I imagined soon I would make an escape, leave my whole life behind, go to Hollywood, or Asia or France or New York.
He took my shoulders and spun me around. Then he reached down into the pocket of his jeans. Said he was planning to do this more creatively. But no matter, he was doing it anyway. Dropped down on one knee in the dry, grimy roadway. He said if I say yes I would make him happier than a pig in a mud puddle. Said he would die trying to make me happier than that for eternity.
Were pigs happy in mud? Or was that some bullshit myth? How can a person ever know?
I watched two fat, sloppy tears steamroll down his cheeks. I whispered his name. Shane.
Mom said it’s a real man, with a real love for a woman, that’ll cry for her. And she’s smart enough for me to believe her. With the palm of his hand, he swiped at his face. The nub shot me a wave. Say it, Ann Leigh. Say you will. He was begging, pleading. Both knees on the ground now. Yes, I’ll marry you, Shane. I will. He rose, pushed his mouth on mine. I tasted radishes. I wanted to puke. This must be what true love feels like.