Thursday, September 13, 2007

Richard Peck

Apparently in my trek through the collection I missed Are You In the House Alone. Since it was published in 1976, it's conceivable that I read it in high school. I was looking for quality mystery/horror/suspense, since there is an insatiable demand for it this year, and picked it up, mainly on the strenghth of the catalog blurb, and I quote:
"Gail Osborne, a high school girl in suburban Connecticut, is swept up into a world of terror when she begins receiving threatening and obscene notes and telephone calls."

Well, sort of. The terror isn't quite there, and I knew from the first who the culprit must be. This book is primarily about an acquaintance rape. Nothing too graphic (the victim is hit in the head with a poker first, and therefore unconscious), but there is some clinical detail. Probably rather shocking at the time, I hope that the general treatment of victims of rape has improved in the past 30 years-- since the attacker is from an influential family, the police are reluctant to do anything and blame the girl! Luckily, the parents and others don't, but it's still a disturbing snapshot.

While I wouldn't recommend this for someone looking for a straight mystery, girls who like problem novels will like this. It is beautifully written, and reminded me in an odd way of the film All That Heaven Allows. Very evocative of small town New England and the crisp autumn weather and bright blue skies. Odd association, but very strong! (Great cheesy movie, by the way. Jane Wyman and Rock Hudson.)

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