PETER and other stories by Harriet & M. Caporale Shecktor Savitz

PETER and other stories

Email this review


The book is addressed to a very special audience. . . to the young person who is not a book reader but who will pick up and devour movie magazines and easy-to-read romances. . . (The stories) try to show the troubled and unsophisticated non-reader, in language he will understand, that his problems are not unique."" Clearly, then (as per publisher's announcement), what reads as parody on Coming of Age in the Suburbs is in fact an intentional overdrawing of five youngsters and their worlds. These worlds, however, are singularly ill-suited to inspire identification, in the ""unsophisticated nonreader"": Peter's hang-up, for instance; stems from the pressures of academic over-achievement; Bo's wealthy parents incapable of giving him love or security try to compensate with a present of an expensive new car; and Gloria, the under-performing over-dressing second sister, Natalie who can't accept the emotional generosity of a foster-mother because ""I'm not worth it,"" and Gregg who just has to get away from the artificial values of a status-conscious home to ""anywhere""--these three are also imprisoned by the upper-middle-class conflicts not necessarily likely to afflict the ""special audience"" the authors have in mind. Each of the vignettes bears the soul of a high-school student who apparently thinks in metaphor all the time, whose consciousness streams prose-poetically, but Mrs. Shecktor particularly can hit the nitty-gritty in interior monologue--""Poor Mom, she was at her worst when her tact was showing""--or after the predictable catharsis--""They hadn't changed at all. It was the way she was looking at them that was slowly changing."" The book is well-produced (slim in the hand and easy on the eyes), the jacket such a stunner that it might attract a real ""book-reader"" by mistake.

Pub Date: Nov. 28th, 1969
Publisher: John Day