ME ME ME ME ME: Not a Novel by M. E. Kerr

ME ME ME ME ME: Not a Novel

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Not a novel but a sort of memoir of Kerr's teens and college years, complete with the words to popular songs and the outfits she wore on dates, along with acknowledgements of the sources of her fictional settings and characters. A high school boyfriend was an undertaker's son and swore he'd never be an undertaker, like Wally Witherspoon in I'll Love You When You're More Like Me--but the real-life Wally did in fact take over the family business. Duncan Stein in If I Love You Am I Trapped Forever was based on a misfit newcomer turned glamorous lover in her small-town high school: a Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany with whom her 10th-grade best friend eloped. (This was 1942 and the boy, two years older, was joining up.) Another mysterious, tormented newcomer, a reserved and prissily dressed little girl, was finally exposed: she and her mother had showed up in town when her father was sent to the nearby prison. Bits of this girl were used in various Kerr novels and the author's own role and self-designation as ""Marijane the Spy"" turned up in the first novel of her friend Louise Fitzhugh. Marijane's more vivid boarding school experiences--she was expelled as a troublemaker--are easily recognizable as the background for Is That You Miss Blue. Later a fellow student at Vermont Junior College was ""The Sister of Someone Famous"" (movie star Lizabeth Scott) and Kerr's rejected short story of that name eventually became the very different novel, Son of Someone Famous. Her years of sorority life at the University of Missouri supplied only a title, I'll Love You When You're More Like Me, but Kerr's account here of those years has its own documentary interest--as does her disillusioning involvement with a Hungarian Communist boyfriend. Along the way she makes occasional mention of the books she was reading, mostly typical youth enthusiasms of the times; and there are no inherent indications that this corny teenager would grow up to write those uncommonly uncorny teenage novels--except that she always wanted to be a writer and did write prolifically and persistently, despite rejections, from an early age. That in itself should be lesson enough for would-be writers; and the tracing of sources will be of interest to her readers.

Pub Date: March 25th, 1983
Publisher: Harper & Row