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Date-rape at an Ivy League college is the hot contemporary topic treated with cool levelheadedness--and laced with suspense--in Corman's absorbing fifth novel (The Old Neighborhood, 50, etc.). The title refers to how each set of parents feels about their offspring: the rapist, Jimmy, and his victim, Elizabeth. Corman spends too long filling in the details of Elizabeth's upper-middle-class family background in N.Y.C.--her father a folk-art dealer, and her mother a magazine publisher. The story takes hold only after Elizabeth, during her first week at college, is almost casually raped at a student house party by Jimmy, an arrogant jock senior who takes her to a sound-proofed basement make-out room intending to score and oblivious to her objections, even when she screams and struggles. To him, no is just another way of saying yes. Shattered, Elizabeth isolates herself, but several weeks later at a rape-awareness seminar breaks down and tells about her assault. Her efforts to bring Jimmy to justice--first by the college disciplinary board, and then by the police--give the novel the dramatic interest Kramer vs. Kramer had and may boost this book to best-sellerdom too. Corman tells just enough about Jimmy's shallow parents in a Westport, Connecticut, tennis-chib set to suggest what twisted his character. The mother was old money, and the husband, uncomfortable with his lowlier origins, was counting on Jimmy's tennis game to lend him reflected glory, even if the boy has to bend the rules to win. The tension of Corman's 320-page novel is dissipated by the surprise ending, which may cause controversy. But, overall, this is a probing, well-dramatized treatment of a sensational crime that can no longer be papered over as a peccadillo.

Pub Date: Jan. 28th, 1990
ISBN: 671-69298-4
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
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