THE REAL LIFE DIARY OF A BOOMTOWN GIRL by David Breskin

THE REAL LIFE DIARY OF A BOOMTOWN GIRL

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KIRKUS REVIEW

First-novelist Breskin assumes the voice of a young, female st rip-mine worker for this meandering account of life in a modern boomtown. The narrative takes its shape (or shapelessness) from the diary it purports to be, as if a semiliterate 19-year-old (admittedly wise in other ways) would really find the time to chronicle her lusty, drug-filled adventures. In any case, Randi Bruce is clearly no ordinary girl. Having grown up in the wilds of Wyoming, she's learned to survive in a hyper-macho world of roustabouts and roughnecks, and can party-hearty with the best of them. She also takes advantage of the single-male-to-female ratio (6 to 1) in booming Gillette, where coal is king and oil queen. From concrete flooring to oil-field work (""better bucks and a killer tan""), this randy young woman sweats alongside all kinds of tough-talking fellows, and leaps at the chance to work the Split Branch Mine as part of ""the first all-woman blasting team in the county""--known locally as ""the Boom-Boom Girls"" and ""the Charged Holes."" Eventually Randi settles into an even better paying job hauling coal from pit to hopper. There, she meets Derek Harper, a decent guy from North Dakota who's quite a change from Spike, her lout of a former boyfriend. Once Randi becomes Mrs. Harper, however, things start to fall apart: a nepotism rule spoils their work schedules; her long-feuding parents finally divorce; her alcoholic mother goes mad, and then finds Jesus; her once-innocent younger sister takes up with a drug dealer; and Randi finally suffers a debilitating accident on the job. Homebound, she finds paranoia setting in, straining her marriage, and resulting in a wild act of destruction. Such an inarticulate narrator begins to try the reader's patience (""Sometimes inside me is this thing. I don't have an exact thing to call it but I already said stuff about it""). Whatever charm she possesses early on diminishes soon in this overly long, one-dimensional portrait.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1989
Publisher: Viking