Home Movie

Ellen Akins, Author Simon & Schuster $17.45 (302p) ISBN 978-0-671-66135-9
The heroine of this demanding but rewarding first novel is Joey Taylor, christened Joseph by her father, who took over the raising of his third daughter upon her birth. Joey is an adolescent when her father dies; shortly afterward, her mother leaves, and Joey, her sisters already grown, goes to live with her grandparents. Soon she meets reclusive Mr. Giffard, who gives her piano lessons, shows her movies featuring a young actor named Pal Adams and becomes a stand-in father figure. After high school graduation, Joey leaves Springfield, Ill., for L.A., where she hopes to find Pal and, by unlocking the secret of the movies and his relationship to Mr. Giffard, understand herself. Akins also tells the stories of a young male stripper, a chorus dancer and of Joey's mother, bringing them together in the resolution. The narrative, with its theme of betrayal, spins out like life itself: Joey can't gauge the significance of any event until she has moved beyond it. Thick with ideas and probing characterization, the novel achieves a compelling power with its unrelenting attention to detail. An impressive debut. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
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