5/2 99¢ “Olivia” by Donna Sturgeon
Olivia Hanson has spent most of her twenty-five years staring wistfully across the tracks to the north side of town, longing for a white picket fence and normal—something she’s never known. Born in a prison and abandoned by her mother, Olivia was raised in South Juliette by her father, Eugene—a knee-bouncing, chain-smoking loner with a Cheeze Doodle addiction. Olivia drinks too much, loses her heart too easily, and works in a factory as quality control, a mundane job she’d sworn would only be temporary, not the permanent drudgery it has become. Her only joy in life comes in the form of late-night slow dances with hot bartender, George, who can set her body on fire with his kisses but is unwilling to go any further.
The day Olivia accidentally backs her Buick into a black Dodge pickup, she tumbles head-over-heels into what she believes is the happily-ever-after kind of love she has been longing for. But the road to happiness is not as easy as it looks. It’s a long, winding journey of self-discovery full of potholes, pregnancy tests, lobster tattoos, Walmart scooters, impromptu weddings, hump-happy Boston terriers, and a sexy, but oh-so-annoying police officer who pops up around every curve.