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THE DIVORCE EXPRESS by Paula Danziger

THE DIVORCE EXPRESS

By Paula Danziger

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1982
ISBN: 0142407127
Publisher: Delacorte

Like other Danziger ninth graders, Phoebe Brooks works out problems with her divorced parents and, on the side, acquires a boyfriend who's a "good kisser" and a caring person. She also gets involved in a protest-turned-constructive-committee to improve the yucky cafeteria food at the high school she attends in Woodstock, where she and her father have moved since the divorce. About her cafeteria involvement, Phoebe remarks: "In Woodstock a lot of grown-ups are . . . fighting for good causes, like against nuclear power plants. . . . I think that when kids grow up seeing their parents involved, the kids get involved too." Perhaps in an attempt to make Phoebe less trivial than her previous heroines, Danziger makes her a depository of bumper-sticker virtues, just like all those Woodstock cars. She's for granola cookies and against fur coats, likes the way a friend sends smoking guests outdoors ("We care too much about people to be part of their harming themselves"), and comments, when the doorman tells her that her mother's upper-east-side New York City apartment building may go coop, "I worry though that some people may be evicted, especially some of the poor people and some of the older people on fixed incomes." Phoebe is far more troubled by her mother's proposed marriage to a rich creep, but she finds some instant wisdom to help her through that, too. "I have to learn how to handle this new situation so that it works out well for me--as well as it can without being really what I want. That's it, isn't it?" she asks her approving, understanding father, who has given up a good city job to paint in Woodstock. Now he has taken up with a suitable Woodstock type, the mother of the best friend Phoebe has met on the Divorce Express--her name for the bus that shuttles kids between their Woodstock and New York City parents. Phoebe likes to rearrange the letters in names and key words, and in the end she finds that the letters in DIVORCES also spell DISCOVER. But there isn't much to find behind these snappy lines and readymade attitudes.