Twenty-four-year-old elementary schoolteacher Annie Harper is left behind in Tacoma, Washington, when her boyfriend, David, is shipped overseas. Wrestling with the complex emotions tied to his absence, she begins writing a confessional memoir, imagining it as a moving account of “the woman at home.” But instead of writing a touching account of life on the home front, a tale of integrity and patience peppered with earnest love letters and fat, juicy tears, Annie lives life without David in ways she didn’t anticipate. She spends more time with her best friend, Gus, begins volunteering at a local retirement center, and adopts a pet chicken. Even as she misses David enormously between his sparse e-mails and choppy phone calls, she struggles with conflicted feelings about their long-distance relationship, her own identity and family history, and the ideological underpinnings of a war that’s exerting such a force on her life. Told through raw, rough draft chapters of Annie’s memoir-in-progress, Miss Harper Can Do It is a funny and poignant story of what it means to be loyal versus what it means to be in love. In Annie, Berentson has rendered a quirky young woman who copes with loss and stress in unexpected ways, only wavering briefly on the brink of self-pity and never losing her sense of humor.
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