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A 14-year-old sensualist is the subject of Canadian writer/actor Garnett's mostly engaging comic debut.

Roanne Chappell is a piece of work. Mature beyond her years—she describes herself as having a body akin to the Venus of Willendorf—though still young enough to make foolish mistakes, Roanne takes to the road in search of her identity, even though she knows she's leaving behind a pretty wonderful life with Del, her fantastic, sexy artist mother, with whom she shares a loving if rather competitive relationship. And it's the competition that sends Roanne packing: Mother and daughter have slept with the same man, and Del can't guarantee it won't happen again. So Roanne, a budding artist, travels to northern California to visit Didi, a famous cartoonist she's never met. To her surprise, her idol, a homosexual dwarf, invites her to stay a while. Trouble enters with Pascal, gentle Didi's brother, who kindles Roanne's lust. Chasing Pascal down the coast of California, she falls into one adventure after another. She stays with old film stars turned evangelists in the Valley, then makes her way to Malibu, where she meets the sad Gilby, a wealthy, self-destructive teenaged girl who befriends the wanderer, and tracks Pascal to his bed. Roanne's new life of rock stars and Hollywood oddballs beats the high school life she left behind, but things turn more grave when she has to go to Mexicali for an underage abortion. Garnett is less interested in a serious exposé of the dangers confronting runaways, though, than in a slapstick account of one girl's bawdy adventures, notable mainly for the likeable, indomitable figure of Roanne herself.

A picaresque novel for the new millennium.

Pub Date: March 7th, 2001
ISBN: 0-684-87306-0
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 2001


IndieSHIVER by Hans Von Osten
by Hans Von Osten