Love in Atlantis

Bonnie Barrett, Author Permanent Press (NY) $24 (182p) ISBN 978-0-933256-77-4
First published in 1969 and long out of print, this appealing novel charts the rites of passage of a Californian who discovers that ``the glory of glories is to be a new girl at 14 in a little beach town in June.'' The town of San Soleo, jerry-built in the boon '20s, withering in the Depression, is the lost Atlantis of the narrator's youth. Her first day on the beach, Virginia learns that her lashes are long, her legs lovely; in the course of the following two golden summers she matures from childhood innocence to sexual awareness. She encounters sun-worshipper Mrs. Tenney, a middle-aged woman who has a ``blue spider''--a web of veins--on her thigh and who is an object of fascination for teenage boys, including Virginia's eventual boyfriend. Barrett's story is a long reminiscence, told by Virginia when she herself is Mrs. Tenney's age and has a blue spider of her own. Life in the '30s--the radio shows, jukeboxes and jitterbugging--is recalled with wry affection. The novel is as bracing today as a dip in the Pacific was for Virgina and friends in Atlantis. (July)
Reviewed on: 07/01/1991
Release date: 07/01/1991
Paperback - 116 pages - 978-0-7592-0532-1
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