Men in Trouble

Sarah Payne Stuart, Author HarperCollins Publishers $15.45 (209p) ISBN 978-0-06-015883-5
Stuart's ingratiating, offbeat first novel, set in the late 1960s, depicts the youth and college years of Lizzie Reade, a sassy girl whose older brothers suffer mental problems. Irreverently narrated by Lizzie herself, the story begins in the Reades' affluent, placid hometown of Concord, Mass. Two of the three Reade boys, Harry and Spencer, have nervous breakdowns and become patients at a mental hospital. Spencer apparently recovers (""I'm not smart enough to go nuts''), but Harry, a once brilliant Harvard student, can't quite regain his sanity after having delusions that he inhabits Bugs Bunny's body. Hapless Mr. and Mrs. Reade, whom Lizzie derisively calls ``the parents,'' seem totally out of touch with their children's problems; Mrs. Reade worries about spending precisely the same amount on each offspring's Christmas gift, and Mr. Reade implores Lizzie never to be a Playboy centerfold. Eventually Lizzie enrolls at Radcliffe to pursue boys instead of knowledge, while manic-depressive Harry goes in and out of mental hospitals until Lizzie heroically decides to cure him. Stuart makes Lizzie endearing by showing us her sense of humor and sometimes comical efforts to be ``hip'' during an exceptionally chaotic era. And her portrait of a family in crisis finally becomes oddly moving. (April)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
Paperback - 20 pages - 978-0-06-091575-9
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