WEIRD ON THE OUTSIDE by Shelley Stoehr


Age Range: 14 & up
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 Stoehr follows up her debut novel, Crosses (1991), about drug use and self-mutilation, with this tale of a 17-year-old runaway who supports herself as a topless dancer in New York City. Long- legged, blond-haired, blue-eyed Tracey narrates how she convinced each of her parents--her father is a wealthy, Connecticut surgeon and her mother is a pill-popping manicurist in state--she is staying with the other. Taking a bus to New York, Tracey is gradually drawn into the world of topless dancing; she goes to art school for a while but the ``real world'' of dancing takes over until she is badly beaten by a jealous customer and returns to the safety of her father's home and prep school. Stoehr's agenda is divided between Tracey's budding neo- feminism (she believes she's in control at all times) and a sensationalistic, even pornographic depiction of the dancers' moves, motives, lives, rationales. The slang Tracey and others use to describe their bodies and themselves is gritty and unrelenting, and the unstinting degradation may leave some readers feeling like unwitting voyeurs. Tracey's parents, by contrast, remain stock types, even though they must hold keys to her confused self-esteem (this, by the way, is in as much flux at the end of the book as it is in the beginning). What remains is a scuzzy, Times Square landscape of sex, drugs, and the inevitable hangover. (Fiction. 14+)

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-385-32090-6
Page count: 214pp
Publisher: Delacorte
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 1995


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