A SUMMER'S LEASE by Marilyn Sachs


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At the end of her sophomore year in high school Gloria is gunning fiercely for appointment as assistant editor of Wings, the high school literary magazine; the job leads automatically to the editorship in the senior year, and from there Gloria plans to go to college and become a writer despite her blue-collar mother's insistence that she get an office job instead. At the end of the book Gloria gets the editorship, but this is far from the '50s-style dream-come-true that she herself might have expected. (The story, incidentally, is set in the '40s.) First, English teacher Mrs. Home appoints Gloria co-assistant-editor with nice-guy Jerry Lieberman and invites the two of them to her country place for the summer to help care for Mrs. Horne's two children and five others. Gloria's competitiveness continues to plague her during the summer, but she does loosen up somewhat toward the children and toward Jerry; and the two teenagers grieve together over the death of the youngest child toward the end of the summer. Nevertheless the year of the co-assistant-editorship (little more than a postscript here) is a stormy one, as Gloria continues to resent Jerry's decisions and his acceptance of work she scorns; and at the end of junior year he resigns to allow her the top job. One feels a lack of cohesion and necessity overall; but Gloria is drawn with conviction, and her growing awareness of her shortcomings and tentative steps toward overcoming them are made more believable by the absence of spectacular reform.
Pub Date: April 17th, 1979
ISBN: 0440977878
Page count: 143pp
Publisher: Dutton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1979


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