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You have three chances this week to hear a first-hand account of Virginia Holman's tumultuous early years when she reads from her book, Rescuing Patty Hearst: Memoirs from a Decade Gone Mad. Holman's memoirs recount the time she spent in a ramshackle shack with her schizophrenic mother, awaiting an imaginary war, and her efforts to decipher her fragile and confusing surroundings. The book takes readers through the mind of a doubtful young girl who wants to believe and trust her mother, yet slowly begins coming to grips with her apparent mental disillusionment. "I had actually been trying to write this story for a very long time as a novel, thinking that if I kept the veil of fiction around me it would somehow be easier to write," Holman said in a recent interview with The Independent, "but that proved not to be the case at all." You can hear and meet the Durham-based writer at three local bookstore readings: Wednesday, March 5, 7 p.m. at The Regulator Bookshop in Durham (286-2700); Friday, March 7, 7:30 p.m. at Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh (828-1588); and Saturday, March 8, 11 a.m. at McIntyre's Fine Books in Fearrington Village (542-3030). --Martina Navratil

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