NOT THE END OF THE WORLD by Rebecca Stowe

NOT THE END OF THE WORLD

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 An angry young girl struggles to grow up in `60s suburbia--in this flawed but still intriguing tragicomic debut, first published in England, by a New York writer. Maggie Pittsfield, 12, is by all accounts a lucky young girl. Daughter of amiable candymaker Robert ``Sweet is My Middle Name'' Pittsfield, Maggie lives with her family in beautiful Port Huron, Michigan, where the shore of the great lake lies in her own backyard, she has her own room and her own dog, and her beautiful, self-abnegating mother is at her beck and call. Nevertheless, Maggie is a difficult child--as her exceedingly critical grandmother is fond of pointing out--who, when she's not threatening to desert her neurotic younger sister, is playing serious games of doctor with a girlfriend in the nearby woods. While her parents argue ineffectually over whether something is terribly wrong with the girl, Maggie struggles through a deadly boring session of summer school imposed as punishment for her scandalous conduct the previous semester. What the scandal involved is the central mystery in this tale of secrets denied and horror suppressed. Maggie herself is too busy trying to control the separate personalities that she imagines are fighting for dominance within her (Katrina, the adopted child; Trixie, the mischievous girl; Sarah, the good daughter; Peggy, the terrified infant, and so on) and evading her school counselor's probing questions to take the lid off the searing truth that all this activity is meant to hide. That Maggie's secret has to do with half-forgotten sexual abuse comes as no surprise--beneath its hard-edged frenzy, this story reads like a textbook case. Nevertheless, the author's uncompromising, forceful style keeps the pages turning.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0-679-40945-9
Page count: 160pp
Publisher: Pantheon
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 1991