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Caring is Creepy
Cover of Caring is Creepy
Caring is Creepy
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Fifteen-year-old Lynn Marie Sugrue is doing her best to make it through a difficult summer. Her mother works long hours as a nurse, and Lynn suspects that her mother's pill-popping boyfriend has...
Fifteen-year-old Lynn Marie Sugrue is doing her best to make it through a difficult summer. Her mother works long hours as a nurse, and Lynn suspects that her mother's pill-popping boyfriend has...
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  • Fifteen-year-old Lynn Marie Sugrue is doing her best to make it through a difficult summer. Her mother works long hours as a nurse, and Lynn suspects that her mother's pill-popping boyfriend has enlisted her in his petty criminal enterprises. Lynn finds refuge in online flirtations, eventually meeting up with a troubled young soldier, Logan Loy, and inviting him home. When he's forced to stay over in a storage space accessible through her closet, and the Army subsequently lists him as AWOL, she realizes that he's the one thing in her life that she can control. Meanwhile, her mother's boyfriend is on the receiving end of a series of increasingly violent threats, which places Lynn squarely in the cross-hairs.



  • From the book The Game

    The most dangerous thing I ever did was tell a grown man my
    real name. I typed it for him. Lynn Marie Sugrue. When it
    happened, it didn’t seem like anything at all. Hardly something
    worth worrying over. Me and my best friend Dani were down in
    her basement bedroom on a night hot and thick enough to push
    in against the window screens. We were playing our favorite game
    of the moment, a sort of online combination of crank phone call
    and blind man’s bluff, but it was really more of a scheme to try out
    being bad in a place we thought it wouldn’t count. We just never
    expected to be the ones wearing the blindfold.

    So this is August of 2005 in Metter, Georgia, population half of
    nothing. A million miles from anywhere good. So this is me and
    Dani, just turned fifteen and a couple weeks away from our sophomore
    year at Metter High. So this is me fucking up my life like you
    wouldn’t believe.

    New Identities

    The trouble started with a gift. The day after my friend Dani’s
    birthday, I found her moping down in her bedroom beside
    a pair of huge boxes. Dani’s dad owns that used car lot out where
    Lewis Street meets the county highway—Big Dunham’s it’s called,
    the one where in the commercials a girl in a bikini goes around
    popping balloons on windshields, saying, “We’re popping prices
    like you wouldn’t believe.” He’d been promising for years to buy
    her a car when she turned fifteen. Dani wouldn’t be able to drive
    without an adult sitting next to her for another year, but this hadn’t
    bothered her one whit. “I’ll get to have plenty of practice for the
    license test,” she’d say. A few weeks before her birthday, though,
    something happened to change Dani’s mother’s mind, something
    not even Dani would tell me about. Whatever it was she did, it
    made her mother decide poor little Dani wasn’t quite ready for a
    car of her own. Instead, she got a new computer.

    I took a beer from my backpack and waved it in front of her face
    to get her attention. “Cheer up, there’s more naked men inside that
    plastic box over there on the floor than you could ever possibly
    look at.”

    Dani closed her eyes and shook her hair so hard it twirled around
    her head like a skirt, but she snatched up the beer all the same.

    “Well,” she said. “For scientific study.”

    “Sure,” I said.

    Dani had used the wholesome notion of scientific study as a
    means of investigating all manner of nasty things over the years.
    We’d spent a good deal of the summer watching dirty movies filched
    from her dad’s footlocker in the garage, pausing at the stranger
    parts and studying them like scientists. Once, she even got her
    mom to buy Judy Blume’s Forever with the excuse that she needed
    to write a paper on the mores of suburban adolescents in the 1970s
    for her social studies class. I still shake my head in wonder over that
    bit of bullshit.

    It took both of us to tug the computer free. The Styrofoam
    squeaked like a stepped-on mouse.

    How could I have known then the kind of craziness that would
    come out of that box? Or that on that same exact day, maybe right
    around the same time, the boy who’d change everything about me,
    right down to my last clean pair of socks, was opening up his own
    box of trouble? Inside his box was the decision to leave his job,
    his home, his whole life. Inside his box was how he got caught

About the Author-

  • David Zimmerman was raised in Atlanta, Georgia. After receiving his MFA in creative writing from the University of Alabama, he spent several years living and working in Brazil and Ethiopia. He now teaches at Iowa State University. His debut novel, The Sandbox, was released by Soho in 2010.


  • Publisher's Weekly

    February 27, 2012
    In Zimmerman’s newest (after The Sandbox), 15-year-old Lynn Marie Sugrue falls into a twisted kind of love with Army specialist Logan Loy—whom she met online—in rural Georgia. Having punched a sergeant, he goes AWOL with Lynn’s help. Thinking no one will find him at her house, Logan hides in a storage space behind Lynn’s closet, and she takes care of him, finding perverse comfort in her clandestine houseguest. Meanwhile, her mother’s no-good boyfriend, Hayes, has made promises he can’t keep with folks of a bad sort, and now they’re threatening Lynn’s family and taking extreme measures to get what they want. Lynn’s relationship with Logan becomes less about romance and more about control, as she begins to say and do anything she can to keep him by her side, and Hayes’s enemies’ threats reach frightening levels. Lynn’s voice is authentically sardonic and compelling, but the ending is resolved too easily and the reasons for Lynn’s ill-treatment of Logan are unconvincing. Still, the intersections of Lynn’s and Logan’s story line with the consequences of Hayes’s shady dealings are consistently exciting.

  • Kirkus

    May 1, 2012
    Following his much-praised debut (The Sandbox, 2010), Zimmerman turns from war-torn Iraq to rural Georgia, where a 15-year-old girl battles for survival. Lynn Sugrue is the stuff of steel magnolias. Young as she is, you can already see the toughness, tenderness and, yes, the ruthlessness that will one day make her formidable. That, however, is the future. Now it's summer in sweltering Metter, Ga., and Lynn and her BFF, Dani, are caught between boredom and a hard place. In self-defense they invent the Game, which predictably involves computers, chat rooms, and some flagrant lying about who they are, how old they are, and how available they are for sexual adventures. Surprisingly enough, the Game nets an honest, harmless, sweet-natured young soldier named Logan Loy, more naive than is good for him. As perhaps only an adolescent can, Lynn falls helplessly in love, a plunge that results in desperate behavior that will eventually make her a stranger to herself. Meanwhile, Lynn's mom is coming to the end of a love affair with a good-looking, irresponsible, no-account who's been feckless enough to steal from a gang of vicious drug dealers willing to maim or kill anyone who gets in the way of their revenge. During the course of an excruciating night at the Sugrue house, Lynn, her mother and poor Logan all qualify. Compelling stuff from a writer who can handle difficult, sometimes grisly, material extremely well. But this coming-of-age story is not for everyone.

    COPYRIGHT(2012) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    February 15, 2012

    In his second novel (after The Sandbox), Zimmerman presents an engrossing and unforgettable tale based on actual events. The story revolves around bored Georgia teenager Lynn and her struggling, overworked mother. Lynn's narrative voice combines the naivete of a lonely only child and the tough maturity born of her hardscrabble life. The various troubles of mother and daughter are intensified through a series of bad decisions and interactions with an often seedy cast of characters. Zimmerman skillfully creates an atmosphere of tension and impending danger brewing beneath the sweltering heat of a Georgia summer. Readers cannot help but sense disaster as the story progresses, prompting the question, "What might have happened to the characters if they had made different choices?" VERDICT Although the story's main character is a 15-year-old girl, the dark subject matter and several violent events limit the recommended audience to the mature reader. Those who can empathize with flawed characters in dire situations will not be able to put this book down.--Catherine Tingelstad, Pitt Community Coll., Greenville, NC

    Copyright 2012 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • The New York Times Book Review "[A] gripping first novel."
  • Los Angeles Times

    "Zimmerman adroitly depicts [Iraq's] isolated moonscape--a place as liable to produce hallucinations and heat exhaustion as it is to churn up sandstorms that last for days."

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    Soho Press
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