RATED PG by Virginia Euwer Wolff


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An inane, gabby, way-we-were tale about a youthful passion--which begins when 15-year-old Beatrice (or Bitsy), a violin student in rural Oregon, meets Hayes, an Eastern college student who talks like this: ""You've got this dark impatience, Bitsy. It needs to be fed."" So Hayes feeds Bitsy (who never read a book till she got high from Catcher in the Rye) on quotes from the literary greats; he even explains things like ""the willing suspension of disbelief."" And thus that enchanted summer of their meeting becomes a festival of wow-golly--Hayes shouting on a mountain top, stealing strawberries, skinny-dipping--though there's no Big Moment of consummation: Hayes does make a pass (""Bitsy, have you noticed that I'm a boy and you're a girl?""), but in spite of such golden archness, Bitsy says she's not ready for sex, even if she does want to plan what they'll name their children. Then: disaster. Bitsy's mother reads her diary, so it's off to boarding school, with Smith College to follow. . . as Bitsy keeps working hard to pick up culture so she can reach Hayes' level. But, alas, in spite of a flood of letters from Germany (Hayes has been drafted into the army), they miss their connections. And then comes that letter about his marriage to Another. Only years later, in middle age, will they meet again (on a plane) and have that long-delayed consummation. Too late, however. So it's all over: they cry for their youthful selves; Bitsy plays her violin in the hotel room; and she pays final tribute to Hayes: ""Right down there in the--in the very retina of your heart, you've got this little soft Ionic curl. . . . It's the part where you actually admit joy and tears."" With much shaking of pseudo-Ionic curls and tinny romantic banter--empty-headed, empty-hearted, and altogether tiresome.

Pub Date: Dec. 12th, 1980
Publisher: St. Martin's