Alternating currents of ironic humor and passionate anger empower this coming-of-age novel set in the Midwest of the 1960's and 70's—a captivating first novel by a fiction writer for The New Yorker and other magazines. ``I couldn't even begin to say who my first actual boyfriend was, there were so many,'' Misty states casually at the outset of this story of her romantic life, which commences with an obsession with her ne'er-do-well dad, by whom she would be regularly abandoned, and which later sputters out in the discovery that her live-in lover has propositioned every female friend she's ever had. Part of Misty's romantic problems, the story goes, are due to her mom, an alcoholic schoolteacher who loathed motherhood; part to a general fear of life instilled in her by her eccentric grandfather; part to the acid-drenched, nihilistic early 70's of Misty's adolescence; and part to Misty's own proclivity for choosing men based on the coolness quotient of their automobiles. As Misty's childhood anxiety develops into adolescent rebellion and then festers into an extreme case of post-high-school apathy, she struggles to define herself through her ludicrously inappropriate love affairs—a series of mirrors so warped that the self-images they offer serve only to confuse her more. Fortunately, Misty hits bottom when she's only 25: young enough to take a deep breath, shift responsibility for her future onto her own frail shoulders, and begin the difficult process of bouncing back to true adulthood. Frank, wistful, and occasionally very funny.
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