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A native of Detroit Michigan Judith Guest graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in education After teaching school for a few years she worked briefly for a newspaper Although she never had any formal training in writing she gained fame in 1976 when her book Ordinary People became a best seller Ordinary People was the first unsolicited manuscript which Viking Press accepted in twenty-seven years Critics praised Guests realistic portrayal of Conrad but thought her portrayal of the parents was less impressive The book was adapted into an award-winning film Braginsky 171Like Ordinary People Guests second book Second Heaven was set in middle-class suburbia Likewise both books portrayed a troubled adolescent male as the central figure In Second Heaven Cat and Mike both divorced offer sixteen-year old Gale the emotional and legal help he needed to escape an abusive father The book was a success and proved that Ordinary People was not a fluke Larsen 173Ten years later in 1997 Guest finished her third book call Errands While her other two books were purely fiction this book was inspired by the marriage of her paternal grandparents Since she used this bit of personal family history she felt an obligation to tell the story correctly Her grandfather died when he was very young and her grandmother was suddenly on her own with five children As a result the book took her ten years to finish The book has received widespread praise Guest lives in Edina Minnesota with her husband but still maintains a home in Michigan where all of her books were set Basbanes 23Ordinary People by Judith Guest is the story of a dysfunctional family The main characters are seventeen year-old Conrad and his upper middle-class parents Beth and Calvin Jarrett Conrad is a seventeen year old boy about six feet tall with light brown hair and around twenty five pounds underweight from his eight months in a mental hospital for slashing
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