From Rockaway

Jill Eisenstadt, Author Alfred A. Knopf $15.95 (214p) ISBN 978-0-394-55970-4
If Rockaway, at the Atlantic edge of New York City, were a state of mind, it would be energized despair. Or so it seems for the teenagers in this finely tuned first novel who have spent their lives in ""Rotaway'' and are unlikely to get out. They drink a lot, do a little dope, talk about sex more than have it and feel no more in charge of their lives at 18 than they did in Catholic grammar school. After high school, only Alex will go away to college. The rest of her group will stay: Timmy, a dropout and a lifeguard, Alex's ex-boy friend and still in love with her; ``Chowderhead,'' Peg and the cruel Sloane, lifeguards too, the horizons of their lives as narrow as the beaches of their summers are wide. When Alex leaves for school, Timmy misses her with an utter and believable acuity; meanwhile, he and Chowderhead work at a deli, the movie theater burns down, and Peg takes a ``hat walk''a drink in every bar on the mile-long boardwalk. In Maine, Alex stumbles through her first semester, going to Dress-to-Get-Laid parties, reading anthropology texts and falling in love with Joenot a Rockaway type. The following summer brings Timmy's Death Keg, a semibarbaric ritual followed when a guard loses a swimmer and the fizzling of the group's annual bridge-jumping stunt. Combining innocence and experience, hope and hopelessness, Eisenstadt's characters seem particularly modern; if her book were a movie, it would suggest both Saturday Night Fever and St. Elmo's Fire. Film rights to Sidney Pollack. (September 22)
Reviewed on: 08/04/1987
Release date: 08/01/1987
Paperback - 214 pages - 978-0-394-75761-2
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