FAIR GAME by Erika Tamar


Age Range: 14 & up
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 Straight from the headlines: members of a Long Island high- school football team sexually abuse a retarded girl. Exploring causes and results, Tamar outlines the events in a letter to the press from the loyal girlfriend of one of the boys, then flashes back. Three narrators alternate. Laura Jean describes her longtime relationship with Scott (who's just won a scholarship to Dartmouth). Nice but not quite sure of herself, she's classically accommodating; her determinedly positive account depicts Scott as taking arrogant advantage of her good nature. Then Cara tells how she becomes sexually involved with the boys in the pathetic hope of getting a real boyfriend, and details the gang rape--in which she acquiesces, only half understanding the boys' derision. Third narrator Joe Lopez is the one boy to quit the scene just before the rape. Though less subtly portrayed than the young people in Norma Fox Mazer's Out of Control (p. 376), Tamar's characters are carefully individualized, and she does a fine job of depicting a community where such a crime could be excused by some parents and teachers; the explicit details here make it absolutely clear how heinous it is. Believably, to spare Cara still more pain, her mother decides not to press charges; still, the media find out. The legal outcome, left open, is problematic: Cara never said ``No,'' as Laura Jean proves when she interviews Cara, hoping to exonerate Scott. But listening to her, Laura Jean realizes more: Cara's a real person; legally rape or not, the boys' act was unforgivable. Well wrought and compelling. (Fiction. 14+)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-15-278537-X
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Harcourt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 1993


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