TAKING CARE by Fanny Howe

TAKING CARE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This novel seems to suggest that if troubled teen-aged girls find religion, tend the sick, and discover Mr. Right, all their problems will be solved. Readers may not buy the first two solutions, but perhaps they'll enjoy slogging through scenes featuring alcoholic stupors, heavy petting, and trampled relationships in order to discover whether the guy is right and whether or not he and the heroine get together. Pretty, blonde Pamela is a tough cookie. Her parents, especially her mother, drink too much, are well-to-do, permissive, uncaring, and neglectful. Pamela also drinks too much, smokes heavily, and has had a passionless first sexual encounter. Her one close relationship is with attractive, sensible older brother, James. Pamela listlessly joins a confirmation class, where she meets Tiffany, a smart, gorgeous black teen; the two are sent to volunteer as Candy Stripers at a local hospital. Pamela initially hates it but soon begins to feel strongly about ""her"" patients. This is partly because of handsome Tristan, recuperating at the hospital after a motorcycle accident. Pamela and Tristan fall in love, as do James and Tiffany. Pamela also matures through her hospital experiences and even learns to accept her feet-of-clay parents. There are some genuinely funny scenes here, and sweetly romantic ones, too. Pamela is a bit hard to take at first, but becomes more likable as the story goes on. However, it's very hard to believe that no shadows, alcoholic or otherwise, will darken her path again, even though she's found true love and solid commitments. (An unfortunate characteristic of teen romances like this is the assertion that life and love begin and end for young women during their teens.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1985
Publisher: Avon/Flare