Just Before Daybreak

Audrey Couloumbis, Author St. Martin's Press $16.95 (292p) ISBN 978-0-312-00586-3
Allie, the narrator of this first novel about coming of age in the Iowa countryside in the early 1950s, is an aspiring writer and budding painter. Sex is at the center of her consciousness; her stories, written in the lurid, confessional style of pulp magazines, recount scenes she has witnessed others enact. Her parents are divorced; her father, now remarried, returns for rare visits; her stepfather, ""Daddy Jim,'' is a brutish, drunken lout given to pawing her. The story climaxes in a tense, melodramatic flight and pursuit as Allie's stepfather, having butchered her mother and others as well, chases the girl and her infant sister and, at the climactic moment, meets a gory end at Allie's hand. The book suffers from the limited perspective of its 13-year-old narrator: the characters are shallow, the insights banal. One hopes that the author's undeniable dramatic sense will be put to better use in her next book. (June 15)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1987
Release date: 01/01/1987
Paperback - 292 pages - 978-1-55547-241-2
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