HOUSE RULES by Heather Lewis


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 A young woman gets lost on the dark side of the horse-show circuit, where drug addiction and sexual abuse mingle almost indistinguishably with pleasure and true love. Fifteen-year-old Lee gets kicked out of boarding school for having a party with boys and pot, even though she doesn't like either of them. She can't go home because her mother doesn't want her and her father wants her too much. So, after collecting on some drug debts and selling all she owns, she heads to Florida to meet up with the horse show, hoping for refuge with a trainer named Silas who, since she was eight, has taken her in whenever she has had to get away from her family. But Lee finds a different sort of refuge with Tory, a woman rider with a much alluded-to but vague reputation for drugs and trouble. Their affair quickly escalates from seemingly innocent groping in the horse tents to rough and painful sex that, though sadly similar to life at her parents' house, is much less frightening to Lee than real tenderness. Tory leads Lee to her trainers, Linda and Carl, notorious for their fierce and effective horse-training techniques. Lee soon learns that these methods extend to the riders as well: Linda begins pumping her with synthetic heroin and touching her until she's ``split up inside.'' But even the unflinching descriptive detail is dwarfed by Lee's terrifying laissez-faire attitude: ``I'm not reckless by nature. It's more I get a certain way in and then can't turn back.'' Not until after Tory falls does Lee gather the courage to act. Brutal, sensual, honest, and seductive. A powerful debut.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-385-47210-2
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Doubleday
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 1994


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