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Trite first-person jottings (scenes are set with choppy phrases: ""Back to school."" ""Saturday. My party""), more like a diary than a novel, about Laura, a painfully shy teenager living near London in the early Fifties. An outing with the Boys' Club gives her the ""dentist feeling."" ""Should I pretend to have a cold?"" But there she meets Ben. Soon, ""I waltzed into my room, my head bursting with flashing lights and neon signs. A boy took me home and asked me to go out with him. Fact. Real, solid fact."" Dates later, ""Walking home, Ben took my hand. . . . 'You are touching me.' I was shouting it inside. Four words of surprise. Pleasure. Questioning. Also, strangely, fear. But not a kind of fear I knew. Simply of the unknown?"" Later yet, ""Ben kissed me. Must have dreamt it. Couldn't be real."" The kisses change from ""Safe. Romantic"" to those arousing ""a surge of feeling I'd never had before."" There's a lecture about their exclusive relationship and her falling math grades from busy, college teacher Mum and curt, imposing Father, whose return from prolonged business trips gives her the ""dentist feeling."" But she and Ben go on. . . to ""Shock and pain and love and fear, rushing into the gasping unknown together. . . . Nothing will ever be the way it was."" She's overcome with remorse. Her period is late. ""Please God, no. Fear twists my stomach, freezes me. . . ."" Then relief, she's not pregnant. Ben goes away to University. ""Letters help fill the emptiness inside."" But his last announces that he's in love with another girl. ""You must live through the rime when everything hurts."" Site does. In the process, ""I've come out of my mousiness"" and ""I'm no longer afraid of Father."" Unreconstructed adolescent drivel.

Pub Date: March 31st, 1983
Publisher: Four Winds