A Sad and Gory Land

Claudia Johnson

  • Who Will Run the Frog Hospital? by Lorrie Moore
    Faber, 148 pp, £14.99, November 1994, ISBN 0 571 17310 1

American culture has a special attachment to boys’ coming-of-age stories, and from Tom Sawyer to Summer of ’42 readily invests them with mythic import. But girls’ coming-of-age stories, as distinct from tales about courtship and marriage, find no indulgent public. How could they? Crediting stories about the pain and exhilaration of girls’ fellowship, sexual discovery or disenchantment comes close to endorsing the agenda of consciousness-raising, and that, we know, is not likely to happen. Accordingly, stories about their rough passage into adulthood stay singular, and may be forgiven, but rarely remembered or loved.

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