A first novel takes off from an idea, skitters around a hotel in Florida (a ""paradise for the old""), and starts a youngster on the road to self knowledge. Deserted by her mother, Linda Sharon has battled her grandmother, Anna Sniggs, to a knockdown to be known as Willie Butz (after her favorite radio personality); the money she wins in a beauty contest is used -- by her grandmother --for a winter in Fort Jude, Florida, and grandmother insists on being ""mother"" (changing their names to du Val) so that Willie Butz, with her 16 year old youth, will be an asset. But Willie Butz finds out she is bait -- for the withered old people, for twisted ""Emil"" whose uncle becomes grandmother's target, and, in finding the twins Ounch and Inch, is able to break out of the sere prison which the hotel has become. And she learns she must -- and can- get away for good. Some mortuary annotations on old age keep this from the publishers' promise of being all-out ""funny"".