A first novel by a short story writer, this is an often brilliant portrait of the terrible innocence of the young, and the bitter warfare of ignorance with the grown-up world. For Frances learns, too soon, that she is neither wanted or loved by her parents; it is she who discovers her father's suicide, and who, in her hurt over her beloved Randy's marriage, brings about a scandal that her mother fights valiantly to erase. To Frances, always with the triad of women before her- her mother and her friends, Constance and Louise, there is the picture of what she would like to be and how she can win her way, and it is to the bottle she turns for oblivion and encouragement. Her marriage with Joel, her dream of finally getting Randy, and her eventual place as an equal with her mother -- this short, unresolved life, is spread through the '20's, 30's and '40's, in highlighted mirroring of the times. A real sophistication here for keen reading pleasure.