Manny & Lo

Institute History


MANNY & LO is the poignant, comedic story of two runaway sisters, Amanda, twelve, and Laurel, seventeen, who have escaped separate foster families to lead a fugitive life on the road. The girls elude authorities with great cunning and care, never stopping to notice that nobody is looking for them after all (a notion far scarier than anything they might be running from). They dart from town to town in an old station wagon, shoplifting only the bare essentials, checking milk cartons for their photos, avoiding all people in uniform. When Laurel makes the shocking "discovery" that she is pregnant—after seven months of strenuous denial—the girls fear their days of freedom are numbered. Then one day they chance to spy a middle-aged maternity store clerk named Elaine, a self-proclaimed expert on all things maternal and, by all appearances, the answer to their problem. They kidnap Elaine and take her to their hideaway in the woods to oversee the coming birth of the baby. What they don't realize is that Elaine knows little more about childbirth than they do. In fact, Elaine is a lonely woman with a mysterious and decidedly unstable past, who secretly comes to cherish her hostage/expert status to an alarming extreme, willing to do anything to keep it intact, even turn a would-be rescuer into a hostage of her own, and thereby placing the girls in far greater danger than ever before.

Amanda is the teller of the tale. She observes events with a pure, unfettered eye, wide open, free of experience or judgment. Like Laurel and Elaine, Amanda views the world with an airtight logic all her own, on a separate but parallel track to reality, intersecting it only rarely, and always with painful results. It is Amanda's unconditional faith in Elaine that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, transforming Elaine from the ultimate loser to the ultimate savior. For in the world of MANNY & LO, grace is in the eye of the beholder, and family is where you find it.

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