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AS COOL AS I AM by Pete Fromm

AS COOL AS I AM

By Pete Fromm

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-312-30775-6
Publisher: Picador

Coming-of-age tale by second-novelist Fromm (How All This Started, 2000, etc.), this about the rocky adolescence of a feisty Montana girl with an absent dad and floozy mom.

Lucy Diamond, a high-school freshman, has just overdosed on her own hormones and is intent on getting whatever she can out of life as soon as she possibly can. She has a boyfriend named Kenny, a nice enough kid who lives with his divorced mother and sees his own father even less than Lucy sees hers. He takes—or, rather, he’s offered—Lucy’s virginity, but theirs is more an alliance of kindred souls than of ardent lovers. Both are equally disillusioned with their parents, who seem entirely incapable of offering anything remotely resembling a good example to their children: Lucy’s father lives on the road and thinks his responsibilities to his wife and daughter can be fulfilled with a regular check in the mail; Lucy’s mother lectures her daughter about venereal diseases while seeing other men on the sly, and Kenny’s father is a drunk. Kenny’s mother freaks when she discovers that Lucy and her son are having sex, and she connives to have Kenny’s custody transferred to his father to get him away from her. Disgusted and vaguely heartbroken, Lucy responds to Kenny’s exile by sleeping with the first boy she can find—and, no surprise, he turns out to be an insensitive thug. Eventually, fate deals her the kindest hand possible under the circumstances when her mother abandons her to run off to Mexico with some guy while Lucy’s father is in Canada. Left on her own, Lucy begins to take some responsibility for her life. Too bad she couldn’t give lessons to the grownups.

Not a bad soap opera, some nicely drawn characters and a sharp bitter edge, but rambling: takes much too long to cut to the chase.