Surely this is one book that slipped by while the editors were doing something else -- perhaps sleeping. It is one long wail of anguished tediousness of the life of a morbid, intelligent girl growing up in various unpleasant upper-New York State towns with exotic names (Rome, Syracuse, Troy) about which she dreams. Her name is Isobel, and she can't talk to her parents (who communicate with each other mainly vis-a-vis food and money, or the lack thereof) or her sister (who does the popularity game, at which, understandably, Isobel is a flop) -- nobody except Uncle (actually grandfather) Harry, who's not such hot stuff himself. A more unpleasant bunch of people you'd never want to sit in the same subway car with -- let alone read about. The author does everything in her no doubt limited power (the ""novel"" is written as memoir) to convince us this is real life -- not that this is necessary, for who would willingly invent a life like this, where the girl's happiest days are spent working in a state mental hospital? Authentic or not, this sounds exactly like the kind of confessional novel that deserves to be recycled fast -- right into the wastebasket.