Girls in Trucks
Katie Crouch, . . Little, Brown, $21.99 (241pp) ISBN 978-0-316-00211-0
An unenthusiastic Southern debutante copes with the cruelties of postcollege New York life in Crouch's amusing debut. Sarah Walters is neither a misfit nor the queen of the Camellia Society cotillion scene growing up in Charleston, S.C. But when she and her fellow Camellias try to make a life in New York City, they find themselves coping in unexpectedly dangerous waysâ€”from standard substance addictions to Sarah's fixation on preppy ex-boyfriend Max, a smooth and sadistic child of wealth. While the formula of young women in the big city seems destined for cliché, Crouch subverts most expectations; Sarah almost purposely misses an opportunity for happiness and stability with the gentle lover she met in Europe, and her ploy to ignite sparks with a college friend goes painfully awry. When Sarah goes back to Charleston and faces a perhaps too over-the-top family crisis (it involves suicide and lesbianism), the reader's left with the hope that the worst is over. Though this feels almost like a collectionâ€”each chapter its own story with its own narrative techniqueâ€”Crouch's portrayal of a young woman's self-sabotage and the pitfalls facing young women in a cold world is wise, wry and heartbreaking.
Reviewed on: 01/28/2008