COME OUT SMILING by Elizabeth Levy


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Fourteen-year-old Jenny's last summer at the all-girl Camp Sacajawea begins conventionally, with Jenny wanting desperately to be elected one of two captains for the color war that will structure the summer, and with all the ""senior"" girls excused from regular activities to sweat out the ""longest day,"" waiting for the election results. (Levy reports all this ovine behavior perfectly straight.) Jenny isn't voted captain but she is, as runner-up, a lieutenant; and, at the story's end, she wins the horsemanship competition for her camp and her team. There is also much talk about crushes on counselors, which we're told ""everybody"" has but normally outgrows. But more serious concerns intrude when Jenny sees her crush, Peggy, the riding counselor, kissing her new assistant, Ann. (Their relationship has been hinted at from the start.) Jenny, who ""'feels nothing"" when Chris from the boys' camp kisses her after a dance, worries that she too might be a lesbian. Further, she is deeply distressed when her handsome, callously sarcastic father pegs the two counselors as ""dykes"" because they don't respond to his charm. These elements inject some substance and topical realism into the standard camp story, and it all blends together smoothly, though without much force or dimension.

Pub Date: May 22nd, 1981
Publisher: Delacorte