YOU'RE SO BEAUTIFUL

STORIES

First-timer FitzGerald gives us ten stories of life among the young, the innocent, and the merely naive in this appealing and understated look at midwestern domesticity. Most of the heroines in the overwhelmingly female society that FitzGerald takes us into are characters with too little or too much in the way of history. The unhappy wife in ``Sister Boom-Boom,'' for example, is an ex-nun whose marriage (to an ex-priest) is collapsing quietly and inexorably, whereas the thirtysomething librarian in ``Penis or No'' cannot quite decide whether she wants to lose her virginity or not. Many are still in school: The title story concerns a high-school senior whose excruciatingly ordinary daily routine—cheerleading practice, class trips, school dances- -encloses a gnawing sense of guilt and terror over the mysterious disappearance and death of one of her classmates several years before, and the major issue at hand in ``Pork Chops'' is the successful and happy deflowering of a Bloomington coed. Although the looseness of narration can be an annoyance at times—especially in pieces like ``Reading Braille,'' which plays with ideas about AIDS and homosexuality the way a cat toys with a mouse—for the most part there is a strength of vision in FitzGerald that manages to locate and reveal the emotional intensity present in even commonplace events. Thus the relentless interference (in ``Zoo Bus'') of a prying mother in her daughter's daily routine does manage to convey the obsessiveness of the mother's feelings, just as the jumbled mental wanderings of a waitress in ``Missy'' gives a fair indication of both her innocence and aspirations. The understated tone of voice that's employed throughout succeeds, for once, in adding color to a picture that is vivid to begin with. Modest but rewarding. FitzGerald's reach doesn't exceed her grasp, and she nicely animates the small sphere of life that she offers us.

Pub Date: Oct. 10, 1996

ISBN: 0-312-14530-6

Page Count: 208

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1996

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

Did you like this book?

The best-selling author of tearjerkers like Angel Falls (2000) serves up yet another mountain of mush, topped off with...

SUMMER ISLAND

Talk-show queen takes tumble as millions jeer.

Nora Bridges is a wildly popular radio spokesperson for family-first virtues, but her loyal listeners don't know that she walked out on her husband and teenaged daughters years ago and didn't look back. Now that a former lover has sold racy pix of naked Nora and horny himself to a national tabloid, her estranged daughter Ruby, an unsuccessful stand-up comic in Los Angeles, has been approached to pen a tell-all. Greedy for the fat fee she's been promised, Ruby agrees and heads for the San Juan Islands, eager to get reacquainted with the mom she plans to betray. Once in the family homestead, nasty Ruby alternately sulks and glares at her mother, who is temporarily wheelchair-bound as a result of a post-scandal car crash. Uncaring, Ruby begins writing her side of the story when she's not strolling on the beach with former sweetheart Dean Sloan, the son of wealthy socialites who basically ignored him and his gay brother Eric. Eric, now dying of cancer and also in a wheelchair, has returned to the island. This dismal threesome catch up on old times, recalling their childhood idylls on the island. After Ruby's perfect big sister Caroline shows up, there's another round of heartfelt talk. Nora gradually reveals the truth about her unloving husband and her late father's alcoholism, which led her to seek the approval of others at the cost of her own peace of mind. And so on. Ruby is aghast to discover that she doesn't know everything after all, but Dean offers her subdued comfort. Happy endings await almost everyone—except for readers of this nobly preachy snifflefest.

The best-selling author of tearjerkers like Angel Falls (2000) serves up yet another mountain of mush, topped off with syrupy platitudes about life and love.

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-609-60737-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2001

Did you like this book?

more