Stern’s poetic depiction of codependency enhances this heartbreaking story of a young college student who becomes the girlfriend of an alcoholic rock musician. The unnamed narrator spends years catering to her lover’s addiction, betraying her own poorly developed sense of self as she related their life together. The couple rescues a child locked out of her house during a blizzard, the narrator observes the self-mutilation of a fellow student, and on a visit to another campus, she is raped while the musician is oblivious to her plight. Each haunting vignette demonstrates her identification with the lost, the damaged, the brutalized. Stern is a writer and a poet with the ability to select just the right phrase to create the sense of despair and hopelessness that her protagonist experiences. Her first novel has a ring of truth that comes from close observation and/or personal experience. With its self-destructive main characters, this moody novella will strongly resonate with those who came of age in the 1990s. Recommended for most fiction collections. – Andrea Kempf, Johnson City. Community Coll Lib., Overland Park, KS Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

 

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