That Summer

Janet Appleton, Author Viking Books $17.95 (336p) ISBN 978-0-670-82026-9
Flashes of humor and one memorable character distinguish this otherwise trite coming-of-age tale. About to enter Wellesley in 1957, Ann Merrill, the 18-year-old narrator, leaves home to work in a Boston bookshop and live in a Hollywood-concept Beacon Hill boarding house run by Malcolm Balch, a kindly gay stereotype. Ann meets Georgia Mitchell, an endearing depressive with sneakers as big as loaves of French bread and problems that turn out to be more interesting than Ann's affair with co-worker Oscar Benson, a hokey sexual initiation untinged by fear of pregnancyjust as a night of heavy drinking with Georgia produces only the mildest of hangovers. Appleton is conscientiously nonsexist, her dramatic hooks work and her scenes build, but the compelling story at the heart of her novelGeorgia's disturbing resolution of her powerful conflictsis partly obscured by the main character's unreal, charmed life and her stale sexual and social awakenings. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/27/1989
Release date: 03/01/1989
Paperback - 978-0-451-16470-4
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