HOW COULD YOU DO IT, DIANE? by Stella Pevsner


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Bethany, 14, finds her teen-age stepsister in the basement of their home, dead of an overdose of barbiturates. Though it wasn't a first attempt, Diane had appeared recently to be recovered from her previous distress, so that her death comes as a complete shock. As each of the other four family members responds in a different way, Bethany shyly but determinedly talks with Diane's friends, seeking to understand Diane's motives so that she can get on with her own life. Meanwhile, the family grapples with bewilderment, grief, and guilt, and comes close to breaking apart before counseling and time help them understand that they will never know why, and that they must let go. Bethany's present-tense narrative gives the story immediacy, though it feels more like a case study than authentic involvement. The survivors' personalities and problems are all carefully defined; Diane is more shadowy--she seems like a shallow, unlikable girl compared to the introspective Bethany. Her need for popularity, as well as for physical reassurance from her boyfriends, only hints at her loneliness and uncertainty; her impulsiveness suggests, sadly, that she may not have intended to die. Less well-written than Peck's Remembering the Good Times (1985), but readable and involving.

Pub Date: Sept. 23rd, 1989
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: Clarion/Houghton Mifflin