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Lorrie Moore is Back. Rejoice.

Your Who Will Run the Frog Hospital? still sits on my shelf–a 1994 relic.

Welcome back, Lorrie.

Gate_cover

Gosh, I thought you were dead. 

And, I wouldn’t have found you if the NYT book review didn’t tee you up, celebrating your long awaited comeback. 

I lifted my sister-in-law’s newly purchased copy, saved $25, and dug in to this delicious one on the flight home from Chicago. Very, very nice. It’s good to have you back.

The story is largely about Tassie Keltjin, 20, at her first year of college on a midwestern campus. After a rather insular life on her parent’s farm, she is cut free, experiencing all of the newness of life–love, a new job as a nanny, an absent roommate. But it’s not all roses, Tassie also faces 9/11 anxiety, racism, war, heartbreak. The dreaded phrase: a coming of age story. 

Tassie’s reaction seems passive and misguided and fearful and well, 20 year old ish. She hasn’t yet had a lot of life experiences. I think Moore captures this really well. 

The NYT review at one point uses the word ‘clumsy’ and it aptly describes some parts of the novel. Moore throws in a lot to the young Tassie’s life (sketchy boyfriend = really necessary?) But it’s easily forgiven–you are so enthralled and find yourself motoring toward the all too obvious fact that something is about to be very, very wrong.  You are, in fact,  tense expecting it. 

If there’s a painful part of the book it’s when Sarah, the slightly paranoid mother, tries to ‘test’ her nanny Tassie and see if she can catch her in a lie. Her instinct is right, but her approach…yikes. Those scenes truly smart. ; )

A good return and a great read.

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