Lay Her Down
Master of Fine Arts (MFA)
This novel focuses on Lulu and Mimi Haas as both come of age during the Depression and war times on a farm outside a fictional Midwestern resort town. Lulu, an aspiring female boxer experiences a horrific boating accident that severs part of her pubescent breast. As she and Mimi, a mid-wife, handle the fall-out, Mimi must make a choice for Lulu of whether or not to perform abortions in exchange for Lulu’s paid way to high school. In the second part, the war has come to the small resort town, and Lulu takes a job for the war effort sealing cans at the closed resort while Mimi tends the family farm that is in jeopardy of foreclosure. As Lulu falls in love and experiences her first sexual encounter, Mimi aids a woman, Lulu’s lovers’ wife, who has suffered a miscarriage and her baby. Eventually, Lulu’s lover comes to pick-up his family. A few months pass, the farm is being repossessed by the new owner of the resort, the army. Abandoned by her lover, Lulu discovers her pregnancy. She seeks her mother for a possible abortion. In the end, Lulu cannot go through with the abortion, and in response to this fact and the foreclosure, Mimi commits suicide. Lulu is forced to marry a veterinarian doctor. As the novel closes in an epilogue, we visit Lulu again in the contemporary. She has made a room of her own in a nursing home and her granddaughter comes to visit, who is also secretly pregnant. Lulu shares her story, and inadvertently, this becomes Lulu’s shot at redemption as her granddaughter now has a choice unlike herself.
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Mauntel, Melinda, "Lay Her Down" (2009). LSU Master's Theses. 1102.