SMALL TOWN GIRLS by Pamela Wallace


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Four teen-aged friends, united by a terrible secret, go out into the world to seek their fortunes: an unengaging tale by the Academy Award winning co-writer of the screenplay Witness. ""And so I stepped out, part of a generation of young women eagerly grasping options and opportunities denied our mothers. We made choices without realizing they might be forever. . .In that sense we were, all of us, no matter where we came from, small-town girls with big-city dreams."" Such advertising-copy sentiment and prose continue to be uninspiring here as we follow Barbara, Kate, Val, and Shelly from their early 1960's senior year in a small central California town to the tops of their respective careers. Barbara is the Housewife and Mother; Kate is the Academy Award-winning Hollywood Screenwriter; Val is the TV Talk Show Hostess with Lesbian Tendencies, and Shelly is the Beautiful But Frigid Model/Victim/Cosmetics-Company-Magnate. As these four Barbie doll creations approach their 40s, Barbara--the one who seemed always in control--commits suicide, resulting in a reunion among the remaining three, during which they relive their high-school graduation night when Shelly was gang-raped by the local football team and Barbara accidentally-on-purpose ran over and killed one of the rapists. For 20 years, the four women have told no one about these awful crimes, but secrets have a way of insidiously affecting people's lives, and these women have had enough. Barbara's self-sacrifice affords her three pals a chance at the sort of cathartic, Big Chill experience with which baby boomers shed their uncertainties--with individually tailored happy endings passed out afterwards like party favors. Weepy references to the Kennedy assassination and John Lennon's death fail to substitute for perceptiveness or originality--and result in a story thinner than the paper it's printed on.

Pub Date: Oct. 5th, 1990
Publisher: St. Martin's