SWEET PAIN by Richard Posner


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This grim, scary teen novel is a no-holds-barred exploration of an abusive relationship. Creative, multifaceted Casey Gordon meets Paul VanHorn, a bitter misfit with a fine body and an evil reputation. Casey's initial curiosity turns into more intense feelings as Paul continues to tell her how much he needs her, and how she has the power to free herself from the expectations of school, friends and parents. So weak is Casey's self-image that Paul hooks her like a fish with this line; so dependent on him does she become that she drops her friends, defies her parents, and, when Paul begins slapping her around, considers it as much her fault as his. Paul's brutality escalates until Casey is nearly killed--and that brings her to her senses. At the end, the hook is still there, but self-preservation has the stronger pull, and Casey is able to walk away. Sach's Fat Girl (1981) studies a similar but less violent relationship and carries a less ambiguous message. Here, Posner leaves little to the imagination in plot or characters (few of whom display more than one dimension)--and will leave much of his audience angry and thoughtful.

Pub Date: June 5th, 1987
Page count: 276pp
Publisher: Evans