SECRETS OF THE SHOPPING MALL by Richard Peck

SECRETS OF THE SHOPPING MALL

KIRKUS REVIEW

On an impulse, unhappy loner Teresa rescues brainy Barnie from a mean gang in their inner city junior high school--and the two flee to a suburban jungle that proves just as dangerous. Finding themselves at a shopping mall when their bus fare runs out, the two seem fairly successful hiding out in a large department store--Teresa is happy just to have a companion--but then they are hauled up before a night court of slick, well-regimented teenage runaways (the leaders are named Barbie and Ken) who also live in the store and surface after hours, and who don't take kindly to invasion of their turf. Soon they are invaded, though, by the Mouth Breathers, a grubbier gang of suburban greasers who rule the parking lot. There's a stemware-smashing middle-of-the-night battle; city-smart Teresa gets rid of the Mouth Breathers; and before long she has outsmarted the Ken-and-Barbie set as well, winning the store for herself and Barnie and getting a ground-floor start on a merchandising career. One problem with this broad, ham-handed satire is that Peck has no sharp sight on his targets: a mall with Gucci labels and a K mart is hard to place; an outmoded junior miss department buyer promoting the Dale Evans western look is too far out even to be a credible figure of fun; and Peck's stereotyped, commodity-oriented runaways are more recognizable as prevailing clichés than as the plastic people he intends to mock. Worse, Teresa and Barnie have no personalities either and their thoughts and conversations no vitality.
Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1979
ISBN: 0440402700
Page count: 196pp
Publisher: Delacorte
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1979




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