WORKIN' FOR PEANUTS by Todd Strasser


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What happens when a stadium beer vendor, with an unemployed office-painter father and a busdriver mother, takes up with the superrich daughter of the man who owns all the stadium concessions nationwide? Melissa begins with friendly overtures from the box seat she occupies at all the games. Is she just playing around to see how many guys she can get to fall in love with her? No, she's really nice, and natural. Eventually, Jeff is riding with her at the family stables, lying with her in the family grass, assured by her that their different backgrounds mean nothing to her--though his fellow vendors are uncomfortable, his parents are disturbed by the relationship, and Jeff himself, disconcerted by her offhand talk about college plans and snorkeling in the Caribbean, wonders why she chose him. ""Every time we're together, it's like one of us is from outer space. I just can't figure out which one."" The end comes when Jeff's friend Rick, a former vendor fired for scalping and now hanging out with a no-good gang, leads the gang to Melissa's house and into a rampage of burglary and vandalism. When Jeff tells her who did it, their class differences surface: ""I'm sorry, Jeff. I just never knew. . . That you knew that kind of people."" Comments Jeff later, ""it was like we suddenly realized that we were both from outer space and that our orbits weren't ever going to cross."" Though none of this has the stylistic smack and spark of Strasser's debut, Angel Dust Blues (1979), the inevitable primacy of class lines is all the more convincing for both parties' denials and general niceness.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1983
Publisher: Delacorte