Spare and intriguing but unresolved.



In this novella, a girl leaving foster care plans to move in with one of her Internet boyfriends.

Almost 18, Angelique knows that in “three days the system wouldn’t want her anymore. Which was fine with her.” Angelique can’t wait for freedom—even though she lacks a job, birth certificate and high school diploma. A pretty blue-eyed redhead, Angelique figures one of the three potential boyfriends she’s lined up on Internet dating sites (but hasn’t met) will give her a place to live. “She had been locked up long enough, and nobody was going to tell her what to do anymore. She would be telling them.” Though the reader at this point may be filled with dread on Angelique’s behalf, nothing too horrible happens as she seeks out one Internet boyfriend, then another, in isolated, remote locations. Being abandoned in a Florida motel by a marijuana grower and then picked up by a sex trafficker isn’t so bad: “[S]he still felt stupid about that. But it had been a place to stay for a while, even a place with a swimming pool. She had liked lying out in the sun.” She’s happy, not dismayed, to discover she’s pregnant. In her debut novella, Casebeer employs a minimalist, pared-down style reminiscent of writers like Raymond Carver, the kind that powerfully leaves things unsaid. After a girl commits suicide in Angelique’s group home, “Nobody wanted to go back to the cottage, but there was nowhere else to go.” Casebeer shows a nuanced understanding of the forces that get and keep a girl like Angelique in her situation: the troubled families, the difficulties with anger and impulse control, the overwhelming need for love. And Angelique is never just a victim (her hero is Lisbeth Salander). The novella is unfinished by design, a choice not all readers will find satisfying. Angelique’s story continues every week as an online serial, the author explains, inviting readers “to vote on what happens next in Angelique’s life.”

Spare and intriguing but unresolved.

Pub Date: Feb. 26, 2014

ISBN: 978-0615923697

Page Count: 84

Publisher: Serealities Press

Review Posted Online: April 24, 2014

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A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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