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When Madeline Was Young Book Cover

Check out the reading group guide.

Read an excerpt.

Jane Hamilton

Jane Hamilton, author of When Madeline Was Young.

Jane Hamilton's visit is sponsored by

Friends of the Nashua Public Library
Eaton and Berube Insurance
St. Joseph Hospital
Saffron Bistro

If you like When Madeline Was Young, check out this list of related books and films in the library's collection.


One City, One Book 2012: Nashua Reads When Madeline Was Young

Meet Jane Hamilton on October 21

When Madeline Was Young by Jane Hamilton is the selection for the 2012 Nashua Reads: One City, One Book program.

About the book

When Aaron Maciver's beautiful young wife, Madeline, suffers a head injury in a bicycle crash, she is left with the mental capabilities of a six-year-old. In the years that follow, Aaron and his second wife care for Madeline with deep tenderness and devotion as they raise two children of their own. This rich and loving novel offers an honest and exquisite portrait of how a family tragedy forever shapes the boundaries of love.—From book jacket

Writing in the Chicago Tribune, Donna Seaman said that with this book "Hamilton affirms her status as one of our most magnetic and provocative novelists by creating a profound and enveloping matrix of moral dilemmas that revolve around a single crucial conundrum, how best to do good."

About the author

The Atlantic Monthly has called Jane Hamilton "among the most graceful and thoughtful writers to work the fertile ground that is the Midwestern family."

Hamilton lives, works, and writes in an orchard farmhouse in Wisconsin. Her short stories have appeared in Harper's magazine. Hamilton's The Book of Ruth won the PEN/Ernest Hemingway Foundation Award for best first novel and was a selection of the Oprah Book Club, as was her second, A Map of the World.

Other works by Hamilton include The Short History of a Prince, Disobedience, and Laura Ryder's Masterpiece. More information about the author is available here.

Get your copy now

The library has over 50 copies of When Madeline Was Young, including large-print and audio versions. Two sets of 11 books, each including a large-print copy, are available for borrowing by book groups. So reserve your copy; read it; talk about it with your friends, coworkers, and neighbors; and then come to Rivier University to meet the author this fall.

Nashua Reads Events

All events take place at the Nashua Public Library and are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted. 

Defying the Odds
When guitarist Jason Crigler suffered a brain hemorrhage onstage, his family embarked on a course of rehabilitation that led to a remarkable recovery. Jason and his sister, Marjorie, tell the story–and play a little guitar. Please register at www.tinyurl.com/nashuareads.
Thursday, September 27, 2012
7 pm, NPL Theater

RISE Class
Sponsored by the Rivier Institute for Senior Education; open to all. You may attend some or all the sessions. Please preregister at www.tinyurl.com/nashuareads. Held on Tuesdays from 10:45 am to 12:15 pm.

Life. Support. Music.
79 minutes/unrated
See description below.
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
10:45 am, NPL Theater

Discussion of When Madeline Was Young
Led by Lisa Allen. Be sure to reserve a copy several weeks ahead of time so you can read it before the class.
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
10:45 am, NPL Theater

Stories of Unconventional Families
The relationships among the members of the Maciver family in When Madeline Was Young are unique—and, to some, disturbing. In this class, Southern New Hampshire University literature instructor Lisa Allen will lead a discussion of two short stories about other unexpected family configurations. For copies of the stories to read before class, contact Carol at 589-4610 or carol.eyman@nashualibrary.org .
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
10:45 am, NPL Theater

Discussion of To Love What Is
Discussion of this memoir by Alix Kates Shulman will be led by Southern NH University literature instructor Lisa Allen. Books will be distributed at September 4, 11, and 25 RISE classes.
Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Nashua Reads Film Series
Neuroscience has advanced our understanding of how the brain works by leaps and bounds since the 1940s, the time of the accident in When Madeline Was Young. Many mysteries about brain trauma are now being solved. But still to be answered are the social and ethical dilemmas that descend on families caring for loved ones with brain damage or other cognitive disabilities. What are the obligations of a spouse when the person they married becomes, essentially, another? Can a person whose injuries have depleted their mental abilities be trusted with adult responsibilities, such as caring for children? How does a person relate to a loved one who may not remember from day to day, or even minute to minute, what has taken place in their world? Join us on Saturday afternoons in September for four films that explore these issues.

For film titles call (603) 589-4646

Defying the Odds pic Life. Support. Music.
79 minutes/unrated
A documentary about Jason Crigler, a gifted guitarist, who recovered from a brain hemorrhage with the support of his family. Meet Jason at the library September 27! See "Defying the Odds," above.
Thursday, September 6, 2012
7 pm, NPL Theater

  2011/105 mins./Rated PG
Gabriel suffers a brain injury that leaves him thinking he's in 1968. Through a music therapist, he can express himself with the music that defined that generation—the Beatles, Bob Dylan, the Grateful Dead. Based on an essay by Oliver Sacks.
Saturday, September 8, 2012
2 pm, NPL Theater
2001/90 minutes/Rated R
A powerful film based on the true story of the lifelong romance between novelist Iris Murdoch and her husband John Bayley, from their student days through her battle with Alzheimer's.
Saturday, September 15, 2012
2 pm, NPL Theater
2001/134 minutes/Rated PG13
Sean Penn and Michelle Pfeiffer give career-defining performances in this humorous and heart-warming story about a mentally challenged father who enlists the help of a high-powered attorney to help him regain custody of his daughter.
Saturday , September 29, 2012
2 pm, NPL Theater

Beyond the Book: An Afternoon with Jane Hamilton
Thanks to support from the Friends of the Library, author Jane Hamilton will be on hand to talk about When Madeline Was Young and answer your questions. Toadstool Books will bring copies of Jane’s books for sale and signing. Before the presentation, a private wine and cheese reception with the author will be held in the Dion Center Board Room.

Bring your book group, and enter our drawing for a bag of up to 12 copies of next year's Nashua Reads book!

Tickets are $7 in advance and $10 at the door, or $25 for entry to both the private reception and presentation. Available at www.mktix.com/npl and at the Nashua Public Library circulation desk.
Sunday, October 21, 2012
Private reception: 1 pm
Public presentation: 2 pm
Rivier University Dion Center
16 Clement Street, Nashua

About Nashua Reads: One City, One Book
The goal of the One City, One Book program is to get as many Nashuans as possible to read the same book and talk about it with friends, coworkers, and neighbors. The program is now in its tenth year. Previous selections included Song Yet Sung,We Are All Welcome Here, Skeletons at the Feast, The Tortilla Curtain, Zorro, In the Heart of the Sea, The Kite Runner, Travels With Charley, and Empire Falls

The idea of community reading programs originated in 1998, when the Washington Center for the Book sponsored "If All of Seattle Read the Same Book." For four days, Russell Banks visited the community for programs and discussions about his book, The Sweet Hereafter. In the years since, similar programs, under names like "One City, One Book," "The Big Read," and others, have been held throughout the US.

Questions about Nashua Reads?
For more information about Nashua Reads, contact Carol Luers Eyman at (603) 589-4610 or carol.eyman@nashualibrary.org.