The other day I went to meet a friend at his office and there was a stack of books that had exhausted their useful purpose or were extra copies or something that he said I could go through. The clear winner was a novel that had a blurb that said something like, "the author writes with a clarity and explicitness about sex that...."

I started reading it on the subway, and I am fairly confident in saying that, it was the dirtiest book that I have ever read. I mean, you could open the book to any random page and come up with an exquisitely dirty quote. It was my new parlor game for at least a day or two. All of the salacious content was intriguing enough, and before I knew it, I was really engaged in the storyline, which centers on senior year of high school and the summer after for the main character, a young woman named Evangeline Raybuck.

The story was at turns soul-shatteringly sad, and I read it with the knowledge that only comes with life experience - like when you're a 17-year old girl and you think that your loser high school boyfriend is "the one." By the time I finished the book, I realized how totally ingenious it was. All of the sex (and there's plenty of it) is sort of a plot device to get you involved in the story of one girl's coming of age that is by turns so brutally depressing and emotionally raw that it would be difficult if not impossible to read it otherwise.

It turned out to be quite a good book about the inner life of a young woman, and it reminded me of how lucky we all are to get out of our teenage years unscathed. It's called Swimming Sweet Arrow, and it's by Maureen Gibbon.


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