Fresh Air for Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Cradle to Grave brings at-risk youth into a Philadelphia hospital to get them to think about the consequences of getting shot. "You only have to die one time," the director tells them, "but the people that you leave behind die a little bit each and every day for the rest of their lives."
Alice McDermott's characters can often be described as average, and Marie, the heroine of her latest novel, is no exception. But critic Maureen Corrigan says the power of McDermott's writing is that she can make even Marie's run-of-the-mill life one for the record books.
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