The Girls Next Door

Peter Turchi, Author Dutton Books $18.95 (278p) ISBN 978-0-453-00665-1
Turchi's uneven but appealing first novel attempts to dramatize ordinary lives. George Willus lives with his wife, Donna, in a quiet Baltimore neighborhood, in the house he grew up in. Though just 24, George seems destined to live a life exactly like his father's, who built the house and raised eight children in it, naming the kids after the starting team of the 1927 New York Yankees. George has begun to question this small, self-contained world. He's still not come to terms with his parents' deaths. And to further confuse him, the house next door has been rented to a group of young, provocatively dressed women. It doesn't take long for this staid community to determine what ``the girls next door'' are up to. By this time George has developed an odd, tentative relationship with Dusty, one of the prostitutes. While he does not succumb to the proximate temptation, the ``relationship'' strains his young marriage. Turchi is a promising writer, but the novel lacks a strong sense of time and place: set in the '60s, the narrative has few specific details to evoke the period. On the other hand, Turchi doesn't settle for the easy or obvious, and this story of an unconventional coming-of-age balances rueful humor and touching insights. (July)
Reviewed on: 07/06/1989
Release date: 07/01/1989
Paperback - 28 pages - 978-0-452-26502-8
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