Albanese, Laurie Lico 1959-
ALBANESE, Laurie Lico 1959-
(Laurie E. Lico)
Born 1959; married; children: two.
Agent—c/o Author Mail, HarperCollins Publishers, 10 E. 53rd St., Seventh floor, New York, NY 10022.
Teacher and author. Wagner College, New York, NY, literature and writing instructor. Catherine R. Dodge Foundation residence at Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.
Fellowship in fiction, New Jersey State Council on the Arts, 1997-98.
(As Laurie E. Lico, with Eleanor Winters) Calligraphy in Ten Easy Lessons, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1984, updated and revised edition, Dover Publications (Mineola, NY), 2002.
(As Laurie E. Lico) Resumes for Successful Women, foreword by Janet A. Andre, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1985.
Lynelle by the Sea (novel), Dutton (New York, NY), 2000.
Blue Suburbia: Almost a Memoir, (verse memoir), Perennial (New York, NY), 2004.
Author's poems have appeared in periodicals, including Mothering and Emergency IV; and in the anthology Our Bundle of Joy. Also contributor to New York Times and the Chicago Tribune.
Author Laurie Lico Albanese has published a novel and a memoir in verse. Her novel, Lynelle by the Sea, tells the story of grieving mother Lynelle Carter, who loses her baby to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. The experience shatters Lynelle's modest life, prompting her to leave her husband in New Jersey to revisit her childhood home in Florida. When she happens to see a baby left unwatched for a moment at a fair, Lynelle kidnaps the child on an impulse. During the child's brief captivity, the distraught woman broods over her broken marriage and her mother's long-ago death. Alternating chapters reveal the agony of the baby's mother, Annie, a well-to-do woman with three young children who is stretched thin by her responsibilities as a mother, graduate school studies, volunteer work, and her father's health following a stroke.
Allen Lincoln wrote in the New York Times Book Review that Albanese offers "some unexpected twists and turns" in a story that hinges on the popular premise of a missing child. He warned, however, that the sympathy she lavishes on both mothers makes the novel's ending "predictable." According to Publishers Weekly reviewer Sybil S. Steinberg, "Albanese blazes her own path through the familiar landscape of motherhood" in a novel that "offers a resonant and complex portrayal" of the two central characters.
The free verse of Blue Suburbia: Almost a Memoir explores Albanese's often unhappy childhood and the subsequent challenge of forging a stable adulthood as a wife and mother. The poems describe the harsh physical punishments meted out by her father with a belt and the more scarring verbal cruelty and emotional distancing of her mother. The blue-collar suburbs where they live are also grim, with neighbors who sexually abuse children, others who become carelessly dangerous when they drink, and one family that leaves a house with excrement in the bathtub and urine fouling the air. When Albanese heads to college, thanks to the encouragement of her teachers, this upbringing fills her with self-doubt. Later love, marriage, and motherhood are accompanied by the fear that such happiness must fail sometime.
Regarding the memoir's form and content, the author said in a ReadingGroupGuides.com interview: "I tell the truth but I tell it slant," allowing some approximations in description and name changes to give those involved "a thin veil of privacy." Albanese said that what concerns her most as a writer is "how people surmount the obstacles life presents them, and how love is always a component of that triumph." Library Journal reviewer Mirela Roncevic called the verse in Blue Suburbia "powerfully modest and spare."
Albanese told CA: "What first got me interested in writing was reading … especially Catcher in the Rye, which I read on my own in seventh grade. I thought Phoebe's name was pronounced 'Pwab.'
"Whatever I'm reading I find influences my work, and so far I'm careful about what I read. Lately I've been reading a lot of Hemmingway, Fitzgerald, and Wharton. I find I'm greatly influenced by Southern writers (Kay Gibbons stands out). Also, I read a lot of poetry.
"With my writing process, I write, I agonize, I exercise, I re-read, I edit, I write, I agonize, I exercise.… Although, the most surprising thing I have learned from being a writer is that while you think you're working on one thing, something entirely different might emerge on page.
"Whatever I'm working on is my favorite book of mine. I always hope it's the best I've ever written."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Library Journal, April 15, 2004, Mirela Roncevic, review of Blue Suburbia: Almost a Memoir, p. 110.
New York Times Book Review, January 30, 2000, Allen Lincoln, review of Lynelle by the Sea, p. 17.
Publishers Weekly, October 19, 1999, Sybil S. Steinberg, review of Lynelle by the Sea, p. 69.
Reading Group Guides,http://www.readinggroupguides.com/ (November 13, 2004), interview with Albanese.