by Eileen FitzGerald ‧ RELEASE DATE: Oct. 10, 1996
First-timer FitzGerald gives us ten stories of life among the young, the innocent, and the merely naive in this appealing and understated look at midwestern domesticity. Most of the heroines in the overwhelmingly female society that FitzGerald takes us into are characters with too little or too much in the way of history. The unhappy wife in ""Sister Boom-Boom,"" for example, is an ex-nun whose marriage (to an ex-priest) is collapsing quietly and inexorably, whereas the thirtysomething librarian in ""Penis or No"" cannot quite decide whether she wants to lose her virginity or not. Many are still in school: The title story concerns a high-school senior whose excruciatingly ordinary daily routine--cheerleading practice, class trips, school dances--encloses a gnawing sense of guilt and terror over the mysterious disappearance and death of one of her classmates several years before, and the major issue at hand in ""Pork Chops"" is the successful and happy deflowering of a Bloomington coed. Although the looseness of narration can be an annoyance at times--especially in pieces like ""Reading Braille,"" which plays with ideas about AIDS and homosexuality the way a cat toys with a mouse--for the most part there is a strength of vision in FitzGerald that manages to locate and reveal the emotional intensity present in even commonplace events. Thus the relentless interference (in ""Zoo Bus"") of a prying mother in her daughter's daily routine does manage to convey the obsessiveness of the mother's feelings, just as the jumbled mental wanderings of a waitress in ""Missy"" gives a fair indication of both her innocence and aspirations. The understated tone of voice that's employed throughout succeeds, for once, in adding color to a picture that is vivid to begin with. Modest but rewarding. FitzGerald's reach doesn't exceed her grasp, and she nicely animates the small sphere of life that she offers us.
Pub Date: Oct. 10, 1996
Page Count: 208
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online: N/A
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1996
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