September 18, 1998 at 04:00 AM EDT

I picked up The Amazing ”True” Story of a Teenage Single Mom with casual curiosity, thinking it a comic book. Moments later, colleagues found me slumped over my desk, tears coursing down my cheeks. That’s how poignant, immediate, and good it is: pictorial autobiography, redemptive fable, and purest testimony to the strength of motherly love. Raped and left pregnant at 17, Katherine Arnoldi — drummed down into dead-end, hazardous jobs and shunned by her family — took the phrase ”You’ve made your bed, now you’ll have to lie in it” and brightly twisted it into ”Dream longer, bigger, better.” She’s a superheroine for our times. A

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