by Margaret Gracie

Book Cover: Plastic
ISBN: 9780889844049
ISBN: 9780889844049

Deborah Pearce has it all. The former Miss America lives an enviable life in La Jolla, California, with a modelling career, a doting husband, two kids and all the fashionable clothing money can buy.

Somehow, it isn’t enough. Image-obsessed Debbie is plagued by dissatisfaction, anxiety and an unquenchable desire for admiration. Her once-promising career is stagnant, the value of her brand diminishing with every passing day. Her two children, neither beautiful nor charming, become petulant and resentful in the face of her ill-concealed disappointment, acting out in ways that have far-reaching consequences for the entire family. But Debbie refuses to let that stop her from striving toward the life she craves ... until one day her seemingly perfect world pulls her under, threatening to drown her in disappointed hopes.

Told from the perspectives of eleven interconnected characters, Plastic is a story of loneliness and longing, of alienation and acceptance, and of the never-ending pursuit of the American Dream.

Publisher: The Porcupine's Quill

That summer I lived for Sundays. The minutes sped by when I was with Deb, while the rest of the week dragged on. Our parents didn’t have money for summer camps, so Jason and I hung out with our friends on the beach and played pick-up games on the playground. My school friends complained that I worried too much about my skin and nails and they teased me about pretending I was rich when I wore the clothes Aunt Deb bought me. But when I hung out with Tiff, she made fun of me now, too.

‘Wanna walk down to the beach?’ she asked one Saturday afternoon at her house. She sat on the edge of the pool and kicked her feet to make waves. Late August sun burned at its brightest intensity. The city waited for the heat to break, the marine fog to roll in, anything to shatter the high pressure.

‘Is your mom coming home soon? We could practice pageant walking.’ I wore a pink bikini and strutted back and forth in wedge sandals, trying to sashay.


Tiff jumped up. Her green and blue tankini shimmied over her stomach. ‘This is you.’ She pranced around with her nose in the air, her thighs jiggling with each step. Water dribbled down her shins onto the deck.

‘Stop being such a retard.’

She stuck out her tongue. ‘You’re the retard.’

‘I’m walking the way your mom showed me.’

‘My mom is a model.’ Tiff picked up her lime green flip flops, sneered at them for a second then hurled one at the fence. ‘You’re just a wannabe.’ The smack echoed across the deck.

‘Oh, yeah?’ I looked for something to throw but saw only furniture, pieces too big to grasp. ‘Well, at least I’m beautiful.’

‘Says who?’

‘Your mom.’ I puffed up my chest. ‘She thinks I should be her daughter.’


About the Author

Margaret Gracie has worked as an ESL instructor, translator, communications consultant and as a writer and editor for the federal government. Her short stories have been published in Canadian and American journals as well as in a British anthology. Plastic is her first published book of fiction. She currently lives in Victoria, BC.