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Product details

  • Paperback | 320 pages
  • 120 x 180mm
  • Random House Children's Publishers UK
  • Corgi Childrens
  • London, United Kingdom
  • 0552121444
  • 9780552121446

Review Text

The sad, sad history of young Jinny Adams - riddled with traumatic rejections, desertions, the deaths of loved ones, and culminating in alcoholism. Jinny's early childhood in the Dominican Republic is an idyll of magic and love, with her Dad at the center: gallant and playful, he's a pilot for a sugar company. But Dad is killed in a crash in England just before WW II, and Jinny's gentle mother marries glum and abusive Jim Muir. So, in wartime Washington Jinny learns to be a nobody: "No one knew my father had been killed or that I once had a pony and lived above the clouds." And in boarding school - as Jinny admits to her close friend, bright and witty Courtney - she starts helping herself to Scotch every A.M. in the eighth grade. ("It makes me calm. . . helps me to pass for normal.') Then, after graduation from prep school, Jinny travels to Paris to study art, but is beaten and raped by American-hating hoodlums (when she thinks she is going to have her first sexual experience with the man she loves). Furthermore, the actor she lives with back in the States leaves her, she has an abortion, and her mother (also alcoholic) has a terminal illness. Ultimately, therefore, only the bottle "could anesthetize me from the sounds at the top of the stairs" - and, in spite of hard work and a promising career with a sympathetic producer/TV writer, Jinny's alcoholism takes hold in blackouts, seizures, and suicide attempts. The fadeout, however, is optimistic: there's a rescue by AA, and 15 years later, Jinny will be helping friend Courtney out of the same alcoholic predicament. True, the deeper psychological roots of alcoholism are not really probed here, and the approach is hardly subtle. But Mackay writes with a nervy intensity, and somehow it's all grimly involving, moved briskly along by lively dialogue and a cool narration. (Kirkus Reviews)show more