Sandra Scoppettone Linda R. Silver - Essay

Linda R. Silver

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Dimensionless characters, a formless, melodramatic plot, and dialogue that substitutes repetitive jargon for human speech merge [in Happy Endings Are All Alike] to present an encapsulated version of the spectrum of society's attitudes and prejudices toward lesbianism and rape. Jaret's and Peggy's love affair flowers during the summer between high school graduation and college and flounders after Jaret's rape by a deranged boy—a most brutal scene—who has seen the girls making love. While Peggy and Jaret gush, coo, and spat in a manner that embarrasses more than it enlightens, the girls' families and friends serve as convenient exemplars of various attitudes toward lesbianism. The range of prejudices that emerge after Jaret's rape are from the text according to Brownmiller, voiced and refuted in slogans. The title is irrelevant to the story and the story is irrelevant to any understanding of lesbianism or rape, displaying a lack of integrity and a willingness to address the concerns and interests of young people simplistically, sensationally, and spuriously.

Linda R. Silver, in her review of "Happy Endings Are All Alike," in School Library Journal (reprinted from the February, 1979 issue of School Library Journal, published by R. R. Bowker Co./A Xerox Corporation; copyright © 1979), Vol. 25, No. 6, February, 1979, p. 65.