BETTER THAN ALL RIGHT by Susan Beth Pfeffer


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All too often this is no more than a chance for Iris Levin to show off her jejeune sophistication in contrast to her parentally sheltered 14 year-old cousin Caryn whom she's expected to keep company during a resort summer in upstate New York. In Shelly, whose conversation is dominated by his future commitment to an elusive community of the guilty called Mudlark College, Iris meets her verbal match. The two trade stagy monologues on their respective parents' colorful pasts and their own psyches (scarred in Shelly's case by a suicided older brother) and, in moments that come as a welcome relief from all that talk, sneak off for a shared joint, some quick, quiet lovemaking or a few pages of Dickens. Flashes of brittle wit illuminate banter which can only excite the admiration of less self-assured teenagers, but there are too few glimpses of Iris' underlying vulnerability and too many facile resemblances to other casualties of fictional divorces. As Iris packs her bags for greener pastures -- miffed at the rejection of Caryn's parents and Shelly's self-indulgent fantasies of suicide -- it's hard to share her own estimation that she's doing much better than all right.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1972
Publisher: Doubleday