COUSIN IT by Lynn Caraganis


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A rather pointless evocation of 1950's pop culture by the author of the witty Garish Days, 1988. Teen-aged orphan Vickie Fowler loses her home with relatives when she calls Liberace a "teetotaller," thus offending her strict Mormon aunt. The mysterious Cousin It comes to the rescue, installing Vickie in a ranch-style suburban home he owns (but doesn't inhabit) in Moraga, California, where Vickie is able to eat baloney and drink Coke to her heart's content. Vickie is an innocent, nurtured on teen magazines and popular clichÇs; as she tells her story in her own voice, it's hard to remain interested in her highs and lows: the "adorable" kitten who inspires "a song in my heart"; the cute boy she'd like to date; the two-timing ex-boyfriend; the clothes she'd like to own, and the hair-styles she studies in magazines. Perhaps, † la Twin Peaks, the novel means to reveal the corruption just beneath the suburban surface: indeed, the teenager next-door shoplifts, and Cousin It has purchased the Moraga house preparatory to a land-development grab--but these matters are never developed; the real-estate scheme is mentioned only in passing and seems to go right over Vickie's not very astute head. Vickie remains passive in thought and deed, the novel all but plotless and without compensatory wit. For people who roar at words like "Arthur Godfrey" and "pageboy hairdo"; others will find as little substance here as in the junk food and culture being spoofed.

Pub Date: Feb. 27th, 1990
ISBN: 89919-945-3
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
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