FLOWER SHADOWS by Terry Farish


Email this review


Farish exhibits a fresh, original, and intensely appealing voice in this first adult novel--a female addition to the Vietnam genre that is as moving as it is wise. It is 1969, and Diana, a nutrition major in a small Texas women's college, is only 19 when she feels the call to go to Vietnam. The Red Cross needs ""doughnut dollies""--wholesome young women to entertain the troops with trivia games and a little innocent flirtation--and shapely, blond, virginal Diana perfectly fits the bill. Leaving behind a proud mother whose own patriotism dates from her soldier-husband's death during WW II, Diana behaves like the quintessential girl scout as her group of apprehensive women is shipped off to Saigon. What she finds there, though, is hardly what she expected. After a few days of trying to interest death-stunned soldiers in baseball statistics and barbecues, Diana gradually ceases referring to ""our boys"" and their brave mission and draws closer to Pearly, her best friend and fellow entertainer, for comfort. Pearly proves unhelpful in this department: feeling responsible for the accidental death of her soldier boyfriend, she slides into a deep depression. Diana grows increasingly desperate as the violence escalates, her own tall, good-looking, Irish-American soldier boyfriend is called hack into action, and their teenaged flirtation is forced to take on the weight of a life-or-death affair. It comes as no surprise--particularly to Diana--when tragedy finally strikes her in a particularly excruciating form. ""Nobody got out without paying,"" she explains. ""This was war."" Diana's breathless innocence makes this story a particularly heartbreaking and memorable one. Farish shows great promise.

Pub Date: Jan. 16th, 1992
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Morrow