Not the End of the World

Rebecca Stowe, Author Pantheon Books $18 (0p) ISBN 978-0-679-40945-8
Already published in Great Britain, this often harrowing first novel by an American has been compared to Catcher in the Rye , most likely because narrator Maggie Pittsfield, 12 years old in the early '60s, shares Holden Caulfield's extraordinary discomfort with adult society--and his equally extraordinary ease in expressing it. But Maggie is angrier and in even greater pain than is Salinger's character, and her tale more particular. Although her affluent family tells her that she is the ``luckiest girl in North Bay,'' she's experienced so much trauma that she claims six different personalities (``It wasn't craziness-- The Six Faces of Maggie or anything like that--I didn't black out and then wake up dancing naked on a pool table. . . I was perfectly aware of all the parts and I knew when they were going to take over: there just wasn't anything I could do about it''), and most of them are unforgiving. Readers familiar with such pop presentations of child abuse as the TV film Sybil will easily spot the clues to Maggie's distressing secrets; the challenge in this book is not to anticipate the narrator's revelations but to appreciate the completeness of her voice. Stowe never soft pedals Maggie, and the reader's uneasiness with this sharp character paradoxically testifies to the integrity of her achievement. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1992
Release date: 01/01/1992
Hardcover - 152 pages - 978-0-7206-0814-4
Paperback - 160 pages - 978-0-393-31006-1
Open Ebook - 88 pages - 978-0-307-83216-0
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