THE TROUBLE WITH SOAP by Margery Cuyler

THE TROUBLE WITH SOAP

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Featherweight eighth-grade traumatics--but its heart is in the right place. Narrator Laurie goes along with another of best-friend Soap's ""dumb pranks"" (putting Saran over the toilet seats in the boy's lav), and both are suspended from school. So Soap's domineering mother enrolls her in exclusive Miss Pringle's, and Soap inveigles Laurie into transferring too. Predictably, Soap is a misfit and a pariah in those snooty environs. And when Laurie, ostracized too, has a chance to get in with some typical Miss Pringle's types by spilling the beans on Soap (her meek father is having an affair with the girls' English teacher), she does so--devastating Soap and hating herself. The inevitable turnaround comes on a blind date arranged by new-friend Hilary: Laurie, unhappily stoned and repelled by her date's advances, exits--to make her peace with the much more ""interesting"" if uncouth Soap. Though some of this is on a burlesque level, there's also a ragged urgency to the present-tense telling, and to Laurie's non-stop anxiety, that gives it a young-teen credence. When Laurie keeps confessing, ""I have this problem about saying no,"" you understand just what she means.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1982
Publisher: Unicorn/Dutton