Smithereens

Susan Taylor Chehak, Author Doubleday Books $21.95 (312p) ISBN 978-0-385-47788-8
In Chehak's darkly gripping new novel, May Caldwell, 16, narrates the grim yet lyrically told story of how pretty Frankie Crane, a 17-year-old orphan from Kentucky, enters May's life in small-town Iowa and turns it inside out. Seemingly ingenuous Frankie, who has been receiving contributions from the Caldwell family for years through a foster child program, arrives unannounced at their door. In short order she introduces May to pill popping, beer drinking, theft and sexual seduction. Only May's father suspects that Frankie's past has made her a desperate character. Despite his misgivings and May's knowledge that Frankie has a gun, the girl stays on with the family, to fatal effect. There's little that's new in Chehak's bad-girl-seduces-good-girl premise, and the conclusion of the two teens' deadly dance seems rigged for melodrama and shock. Young May's corruption is wholly persuasive, however, and cast in prose so precise that it seems cut with a scalpel (sneaking into the bathroom of an older man she admires, May finds ``the leathery, lemony smell of him, the feeling of his presence... solemn and silent, shaving with that razor, scattering exactly those loose splinters of his beard''). Throughout, the narrative surges back and forth like a nighttime tide via flashback, present events and foreshadowing, pulling the reader irresistibly along. That some teens yearn for both death and life is common knowledge; here, Chehak (Dancing on Glass)offers a compelling and revealing take on that disturbing truth. Author tour. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/29/1995
Release date: 06/01/1995
Show other formats
FORMATS
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-671-56779-8
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.