Scuttlebutt

Jana Williams, Author Firebrand Books $8.95 (198p) ISBN 978-0-932379-88-7
Seaman recruit Roberta Weston's first days at Navy boot camp are a nightmare of police whistles, roll calls, unshined shoes and lonely nights. But she quickly learns to sort things out, organize her locker and keep her place in line. Six weeks later, her Oxfords gleaming, she's a full-fledged Navy woman. Her status as an adult is also assured by a surprising insight: she is a lesbian, and the Navy is a racist and homophobic institution. This coming-of-age tale is Williams's first novel, and full as it is of astute observations on a worthy subject, it nonetheless betrays the writer's inexperience. The book's brighter passages give way to paragraphs that read like something out of a Navy instruction manual. The novel is set during the Vietnam War, but apart from passing references to draft-dodging and men's long hair, it contains no hint of social turmoil. Instead, Weston spends most of the novel bursting with admiration for military life, and her discovery of her own homosexuality comes a little too late, and a little too quickly, to give the story the dramatic tension it needs. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/29/1990
Release date: 09/01/1990
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