Fiona loves Reuben but is undecided about following. The novel finds her finding herself, and Edwards’s telling of the story is simple and unadorned, often driven by dialogue, charting life as it comes rather than imposing sensation or plot upon it. While determinedly ordinary in many ways, these characters still challenge the norms of their times and sometimes ours, too, as when Reuben speaks of his teenage sexual relationship with his friend Jeremy’s mother as being consensual, despite the fact that he was only 14. This charged material, as well as developments involving experiments with the occult, complicate the narrative.
The conflicts arise from trying to forge a life and find a self in a time of such upheaval. Their talk and fears and conflicts—including discord between mother and daughter—are highly specific and yet in many ways also timeless, the hearts and minds of young people convincingly rendered, as they feel towards their own truths and tragedies in a nation verging on a crackup.
Takeaway: A coming-of-age slice-of-life in which a young woman finds herself in the turbulent 1960s.
Great for fans of: Eldonna Edwards’s Clover Blue, Jane Vandenburgh’s Failure to Zigzag .
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A