LAURIE LOVED ME BEST by Robin Klein

LAURIE LOVED ME BEST

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Though 14-year-old Julia and Andre are best friends at the posh Australian school where both are misfits, neither knows about the other's difficult home life. Julia imagines that Andre has the perfect well-heeled nuclear family, unaware that Andre's father's miserliness and constant carping have forced her brother to leave home. Andre idealizes Julia's hippie mother and their casual life-style; she's never seen the discomforts of their latest communal mÉnage. The two fix up an abandoned cottage as a haven, where one day charming Laurie (18) appears, wounded and hungry. His flattering words make each girl think she's the object of his affection, though their alternating narratives make it clear that they are being conned. Meanwhile, life at home deteriorates for both; but instead of comforting one another, they quarrel about Laurie--until Julia happens to discover that he's not only a fraud but actually quite ordinary. Klein (Hating Alison Ashley) writes well; her images are arresting, her dialogue crisp, her characters sharply individual. But though it makes a telling symbol, it's not plausible that the girls have kept their private lives secret for four years; and there's no hint that Laurie, a stranger, might prove dangerous. The conclusion--each taking control of her relationship with her own family--is well motivated, yet the final scene--both suddenly falling for the same new boy--tends to undermine the book's more serious insights. Still, like Klein's other novels, well told and entertaining.

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 1988
Page count: 203pp
Publisher: Viking