So Long at the Fair

Hadley Irwin, Author
Hadley Irwin, Author Margaret K. McElderry Books $16 (202p) ISBN 978-0-689-50454-9
Reviewed on: 09/01/1988
Release date: 09/01/1988
The luminous jacket illustration captures the timbre of this moving examination of the effects of a teen suicide. In the heat of a midwestern August, wealthy college-bound Joel Wendell Logan III goes to the state fair, rather than accompany his parents to their summer home. For lack of anything better to doand to avoid troubling thoughtshe stays on at the fair as just plain ``Joe,'' working as a dishwasher and sleeping on a cot in the swine barn. But he can't avoid thinking about his lifelong friend, Ashley. Although born to the same elite social milieu, Ashleyunlike Joelhad always questioned the status quo and been an uncompromising idealist. A prize-winning equestrienne, she cared passionately about all living creatures, yet took her own life halfway through her and Joel's senior yearat the state fairgrounds. It isn't until Joel can voice his anguish and rage at Ashley that he is ready to return home and face his real life again. Irwin's ( Abby, My Love ; Kim/Kimi , etc.) narrative, which switches back and forth in time and from first- to third-person voice, is all the more effective for being unconventional. The characters are indelible; readers will find themselves as haunted by Ashley as Joel was. Ages 14-up. (September)
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