A grieving teen lashes out in this dark comedy.
In a small town in Montana, 15-year-old Tiffany Templeton is “the toughest girl in the trailer park”—but no one knows she keeps a typewriter case filled with secrets hidden behind the laundromat. Tiffany used to be bullied for how fat her parents were, but then her father died unexpectedly last year. Her mother had bariatric surgery and now tracks her weight loss on the price sign in front of the town’s only gas station. Tiffany stays busy working on a play she wrote about young prostitutes who died in a fire in 1911—directed by her gay best friend and acted by a group of senior citizens. In scenes that flash back and forth in time, Tiffany reveals the events that led to her being sentenced to three months in juvenile detention. Fifield (The Flood Girls, 2016, etc.) succeeds in delivering a cast of quirky, unpredictable characters and an intriguing plot, especially when he focuses on the unspooling of Tiffany’s backstory. However, the uneven pace and several unfortunate flippant and insensitive remarks that misfire as humor are at odds with the otherwise strong writing. All main characters are white except for Tiffany’s probation officer, who is black.
An ambitious tale that mostly falls flat. (Fiction. 12-18)