TOMBOY by Hal Ellson


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This is not pleasant reading but is undeniably compelling in its sensitive understatement of youthful tragedy. Tomboy, fifteen year old leader of the ""debs"" in a vicious juvenile gang, the Harps, can take care of herself-from mugging a drunk to being more than a match for half the boys in the gang. Acutely sensible beneath the tough outer shell she has developed as a result and defense against a sordid home environment, Tomboy is unaware of the deep psychological wounds that are responsible for her hatred of her own sex, her attempts at personal masculinity and fear of sexual intimacy as practised by the rest of the gang. Fearfully alone, she fights an impossible war both with society and herself, supported only by the gang loyalty and the admiration of Mick and Lucky. When Mick is ironically killed as the result of a comparatively petty theft, Tomboy is forced to rely upon Lucky's friendship whose ambivalent nature she refuses to admit until forced by tragedy at home and a serious run-in with the law she yields to Lucky and they run away together in a pathetically futile gesture of escape. Stacatto, binding prose based upon authentic material gathered by the author in his work as a recreational therapist with juveniles.

Publisher: Scribner