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Picks by Elizabeth Costello (EC) and Norah Forman (NF)

The Tracey Fragments

The Tracey Fragments
By Maureen Medved
Anansi Press, $14.95, 149 pages

Occasionally The Tracey Fragments-- Canadian author Maureen Medved's novel about a troubled teen--has an oddly poetic moment. Unfortunately these moments don't counterbalance the book's flaws. Medved goes for the jugular a little too often, clubbing the reader with the DRAMA of a particular moment with clumsy tricks like all capital letters. The protagonist, Tracey Berkowitz, is definitely having a rough time. The adults are out to get her, her little brother has disappeared, her break with virginity is highly unpleasant. The problem is that after a while the relentlessness of her suffering makes for a boring read. A little black humor would go a long way toward making The Tracey Fragments more interesting. (EC)

Girls on the Verge

Girls on the Verge: Debutante Dips, Gang Drive-bys, and Other Initiations
By Vendela Vida
St. Martin's Press, 170 pages.

In Girls on the Verge, Vendela Vida sets out to chronicle various female coming-of-age rituals on the eve of the millennium. Vida casts a wide net to explore the transition between childhood and adulthood, with vignettes that range from hanging out with the Crips to posing as a frat bunny. Sometimes this net is a little too wide, notably in the case of the Burning Man chapter, which veers away from the book's female focus. Girls on the Verge does not offer any coherent insight into female ritual, but rather it offers an uneven yet thought-provoking patchwork of interviews and observations. (NF)

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From the September 27, 1999 issue of the Metropolitan.

Copyright © Metro Publishing Inc. Maintained by Boulevards New Media.

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