Jennifer McMahon was born in Hartford,Connecticut in 1968.She lived with her Grandmother in a small suburb in Connecticut and even wrote her first short story in 3rd grade.McMahon soon graduated and earned her BA from Goddard College in 1991 and moved on to a writing program at a Vermont College.After switching between poetry and fiction works McMahon ended up in a secluded cabin where she began to write part of one her best-seller " Promise Not to Tell" and decided to write fiction.She then decided to write full time in 2000, surrounded by her partner Drea and her Daughter Zella.Jennifer McMahon also wrote "My Tiki Girl" which was included in the American Library Association's Rainbow List.She now lives within MontPelier ,Vermont and continues to write.
All of the characters within Dismantled have regrets and struggle with it daily.Henry and Tess have regrets of not continuing their art once they got older. Winnie regrets not being in a relationship with Suz and the cover up of her death.Even their friend Spencer desperately wanted to be apart of the Dismantlers but never was. Emma also regrets not having normal friends instead of her imaginary friend Danner.
"But Tess always wondered maybe people were better off with the watered-down version of life ,life with blinders,filters,cars that ran and buildings that went up on time ,simple,stupid, mindless jobs.Maybe they were happy ."
The idea of Spirits
The idea of spirits and ghosts seems to carry through the entire book as we learn more about Suz and Emma's imaginary friend ,Danner.The way Danner comes across seems to draw parallels with Suz. Danner gives Emma artistic ideas that only Suz could think of and even teaches Emma about some of her parents dark past. The similarities between the two make the reader question if Danner is actually Suz , but when we find out Suz might not be dead the reader is once again stumped.Whether Danner is a ghost or just some imaginary friend the odd connection is undeniable.
" You can sink a thing deep,weight it down with stones, but eventually , it will surface."-Danner
" Do you really know who they are Emma? Ask them about Dismantling .Go ask them about true art. " -Danner
Identity and self-identity also carries through the book. Emma is learning who she is and who exactly her parents are.Henry is struggling with himself, how to be a father, and juggle everything else he cares about. Tess is trying to figure out if she is still an artist or just a mom.Val is molded and eventually turns into Winnie, and Suz questions her identity as the leader of the Dismantlers.The theme affects everyone involved and helps to progress the characters and show their growth .
"And she realized that it didn't matter anymore.Henry was going to continue loving her,continue with his art, but he was not coming back,not really.So she moved with him."-Tess
“An eerie and gripping tale of suspense….A triumph.”
“In her third, elegantly spooky mystery revolving around the vulnerability of a young girl and a haunting past, McMahon fashions a fresh and entrancing ghost-in-the-woods tale replete with startling psychoses, delectable Hitchcockian motifs, and dangerous attractions.” — Booklist
"Starred Review. A prank gone wrong drives this outstanding novel from bestseller McMahon." - Publishers Weekly