FLAMES GOING OUT by Kin Platt

FLAMES GOING OUT

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This is another of Platt's downers, ending as it does with 16-year-old Tammy swallowing a handful of pills she has snitched (""one of each kind"") from her parents' medicine chest. It begins balefully as well, with the disturbed girl obsessively burning matches as a way of testing her own existence. She also converses with an Other within her, and the two selves are constantly at odds. ""Depersonalization. Somatic estrangement. Body derealization. . . . Intolerable tension, anxiety and helplessness, despair,"" read the' notes of her shrink, whom she feels is helping. It's no wonder she clutches at Dr. Greengold, for her L.A. world seems otherwise populated by strange males who feel her up on cars and buses and young ones who expect her to ""fuck"" on first sight. Only Jonathan, Dr. Greengold's druggy son, can't make it with her, but she wants only Jonathan. When they meet the matches go and the Other disappears. Jonathan seems to bring her out of herself, but he's beyond reach. It's after she finds him dead in his bed that she takes to her own with the pills. Platt is well beyond the simplistic analysis that prevails in YA novels of crazy teens; but in the end his lurid pessimism seems just as one-sided.

Pub Date: Nov. 15th, 1981
Publisher: Methuen