Norma Fox Mazer Stephanie Zvirin - Essay

Stephanie Zvirin

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

[Summer Girls, Love Boys and Other Short Stories is a] satisfying collection of nine short stories sandwiched together between two poems reflecting on parent/teen relationships also written by Mazer. Featuring female protagonists, the stories mix the bitter and the sweet of life while encompassing a variety of narrative techniques, settings, themes, and tones. For example, in "Avie Loves Ric Forever," Mazer uses letters, a device she employed in the title story of her last collection, Dear Bill, Remember Me?…, to record the ache of a teenager's unrequited love; in "Do You Really Think It's Fair?" she writes a kind of extended monologue to depict a teenager verbalizing her feelings about her sister's death to a silent therapist; and in "Carmella, Adelina, and Florry," she vividly re-creates a 1940s sweatshop in an effort to expose what things were frequently like for nonunionized women workers during the first part of the century. The remaining six pieces are equally diverse, with characters ranging from a dreamy-eyed 15-year-old and an eccentric who talks to herself and loves monopoly to an old woman afraid to put her past in proper perspective. Woven in are some memorable moments, and Mazer writes honestly and provocatively of human emotion and circumstances while she demonstrates her versatility as a writer. (pp. 198-99)

Stephanie Zvirin, in her review of "Summer Girls, Love Boys and Other Short Stories," in Booklist (reprinted by permission of the American Library Association; copyright © 1982 by the American Library Association), Vol. 79, No. 3, October 1, 1982, pp. 198-99.