Confessions of a Bad Girl

Bette Pesetsky, Author Atheneum Books $16.95 (211p) ISBN 978-0-689-12021-3
While not all of the 15 linked stories in this collection are equally successful, their cumulative effect is impressive. Pesetsky ( Midnight Sweets ) is an original writer who belongs to no school; though her style is spare and pithy, she is not a minimalist, and her distinctive voice--she writes in straightforward, sometimes staccato sentences packed with meaning--conveys the essence of characters who are ordinary and quirky at the same time. Most of the stories concern two families linked by one character who moves between them. Cissie (the tough, pragmatic but secretly vulnerable ``bad'' girl) and Sylvester are siblings in a fractious, disintegrating family living in Milwaukee. For a time, Sylvester tries to establish ties to another family, the Spacedons, who have a strange secret--all four of the children are orphans adopted as young adults--yet the Spacedons seem to have a cohesion lacking in Cissie and Sylvester's family. In reality, however, Pesetsky's characters are all metaphorical orphans: children are alienated from their parents, and vice versa in the next generation. The narratives concern missed emotional connections, yearnings for intimacy that cannot be achieved. ``Closeness may be a myth,'' Sylvester laments, a conclusion readers will share. (Apr . )
Reviewed on: 01/01/1989
Release date: 01/01/1989
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-8041-0572-9
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