GIRLS IN THE GRASS by Melanie Rae Thon


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 A first story collection from Thon (Meteors in August, 1990) includes several standouts (the title story, ``Punishment,'' ``Repentance,'' and ``Sisters'') as well as others that display the author's particular forte with blue collar, coming-of-age material that explores the lure of the forbidden. The Montana-set ``Girls in the Grass'' is about three best friends biding time practicing kissing and daring each other in the summer just before boys permanently enter the picture. When one announces that her family is going to move, they have a going-away party, experimenting with alcohol and sex. Later, to dull the pain of separation and hangover, they take some pills. ``It's hot. We don't sweat. Our throats are rough, but we don't need a drink...That's what the pills do. We feel, but for once, just for once, we don't want anything.'' ``Punishment'' tells the story of a slave who is hung by her master in the 1850's for killing her master's babythe point of view is that of the master's daughter. In ``Repentance,'' a girl, frustrated by the burden placed on her family by her invalid grandmother, allows her to fall; and in ``Sisters,'' the narrator lives in the shadow of her sister, who was once jailed for stabbing a man in Boston's combat zone. Each piece in its own way examines an area of behavior that is aberrant, what draws people to it, and the consequences. Thon has carved out her own territoryand through her meticulous style allows readers to share in her fascination.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1991
ISBN: 0-394-57663-2
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Random House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1991


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