An electrifying follow-up to her bestselling I Was Amelia Earhart, Jane Mendelsohn’s Innocence is a modern gothic coming-of-age story, a devastating X-ray of American culture, and a piercing exploration of a teenage girl growing up in New York City. Narrated with incisive wit by fourteen-year-old Becket, the novel traces her relationship with her widowed father, her encounters with the intimidating Beautiful Girls at school, her attraction to the mysterious and dangerous school nurse, her attachment to the raffish Tobey, and a series of devastating nightmares that threaten Becket’s life as she moves from girl to woman.
Mendelsohn has written an allegory about the precarious state of the American teenager in a culture that sucks the life force out of its young, who are nurtured by the movies and fantasy and narcissism rather than by values such as honesty and love. This is a world as startlingly original and hauntingly familiar as our dreams, where the line between fantasy and reality, between sanity and insanity, is razor-thin. Playful, frightening, profound, and gripping, Innocence is the rare thing—a page turner with the depth of poetry and the immediacy of cinema.
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