Simon & Schuster March 2005, 23.00 341 pp.
In 1965 New York City Carole, an overweight shy student is determined to lose her virginity before she begins Vassar. Her best friend Naomi arranges for Carole to meet twenty-six year old Eddie in Vermont so he can teach her about sex. Carole gets very drunk so that when Rita appears for a menage a trois she does it. Carole remembers little except that Rita is dead and Eddie claims she broke her neck.
From that day forward, Carole's life is never the same. Eddie blackmails her for money and her parent's valuables. She runs away to San Francisco and lives in a commune with her friend Rachel and her son Pepper when Eddie once again shows up to terrorize Carole and even hits Pepper, scarring him for life. The small family relocates to Montpellier, Vermont where Carole opens a restaurant and moves in with the love of her life. She thinks she is safe until Naomi and Eddie arrive and their dysfunctional relationship becomes violence leaving two people dead and one severely injured.
Carole is a vulnerable and frightened person but readers won't feel sorry for her because she allows herself to be a victim, first by letting Eddie intimidate her and then by causing her parents' untold grief when she runs away. Eddie is a true sociopath who enjoys tormenting Carole; he also keeps tabs on her so he can hurt her some more.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner