EFFIE'S HOUSE by Morse Hamilton


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Extra patience is required to puzzle through this sophisticated novel in which the pregnant 15-year-old narrator, Elizabeth (""Bizzy""), calls her six-month fetus Effie because it recalls Iphigenia (a mythical Greek who was--or wasn't--saved from being sacrificed) and because of other more intimate reasons (including the echo of her own name). Seduced and abandoned by the third of her four stepfathers (an English teacher who may be bisexual) and under pressure from her feminist mother to get an abortion, Elizabeth has run away, imagining a companion for her road experiences: her real father, who died in Vietnam before she was born. Safely past the legal limit for abortion, she finally calls her mother. Elizabeth has been told that she is a gifted writer, a claim this author proves better than many: her style is sometimes brilliant, with witty, self-deprecating touches. In plot, complicated fabrications that mirror emotional truths gradually give way to cold facts as Elizabeth prepares to return to face the real world. This is a story-structure that serves its purpose well in conveying the pain and confusion of a smart, pro-choice child/woman unraveling her unique reasons for saving this particular inconvenient baby. What will become of Elizabeth, or Effie, is beyond the novel's scope--but sure to arise in discussions of this challenging book.

Pub Date: April 27th, 1990
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: Greenwillow