Tenth-grader Farrell Cunningham, though bright and attractive, is a loner full of insecurity and anxiety--feeling...



Tenth-grader Farrell Cunningham, though bright and attractive, is a loner full of insecurity and anxiety--feeling ""invisible"" at school, occasionally slipping into deep depressions (""Dark Spells""), getting little support from her parents: over-drawn Mother, a conspicuously consuming alcoholic; and under-drawn Father, busy making more and more money. Farrell's sole solace is housekeeper Earl May, a throwback character in the wise/funny/earthy mode, who cooks up award-winning recipes and gets visits from her equally wise/funny/earthy gentleman friend, insurance-salesman Moses Gardenia. Then, however, things start looking up for Farrell--when she's befriended by guidance counselor Niele, who persuades her to join a weekend ""Walkers"" club for outdoors hikes. And among the Walkers is none other than high-school dreamboat Ted: to Farrell's joyful surprise, he seems to like her, even asks her to the Walkers' New Year's Eve party. (It seems he has broken up with picture-perfect blond Cammie.) Good times follow, with lots of cutesy-jokey dialogue (perfect Ted is witty as well as sweet and gorgeous) and kisses that start getting ""more urgent and demanding."" But then, just when confidant Earl May happens to be out of town for a cooking contest, Farrell gets worried that Ted is going to dump her for Cammie--so worried that, via a sit-commy misunderstanding, she thinks he has dumped her. So, alone in the fancy house with her pill-popping, boozy, critical mother, Farrell flirts with suicide. . . before an artificial happy ending is ushered in for everyone, including those rotten parents (now supposedly headed for reform). Despite the mild, unconvincing dollop of trendy teen-suicide: another old-fashioned Wallflower Starts Dancing tale--with poster-board people, fuzzy psychology, and lots of so-so/humorous chat.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1983


Page Count: -

Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1983

Close Quickview