Zoa (Morin) Sherburne John W. Conner - Essay

John W. Conner

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Adolescent novels about the drug culture are very popular at the moment. I predict that when the drug culture stimulus loses momentum, Leslie will continue to be read. Here, at last, is a novel about the drug scene which embraces the average adolescent with an average adolescent's concerns for family and friends and fair play and virtue….

Leslie is a so-so looking young lady who is pleasantly surprised by the attentions of Chip Carter, a handsome young man who has never noticed Leslie before. Chip's attention does not sweep Leslie off her feet, because his real nature comes to the surface on their first date. Chip sideswipes a pedestrian on their way home and runs from the scene of the accident. When she discovers the pedestrian has died, Leslie is beside herself. Then her friends tell her that Chip is the biggest supplier of drugs for other students in school. Confronted with the facts Leslie is frantic, not knowing what to do….

Zoa Sherburne develops this conflict with a masterful sense of timing…. With her usual good dramatic sense for character the author develops Leslie's mother from a carping, emotionally-soured divorcee to a warm, concerned mother for Leslie. Zoa Sherburne's sensible grasp of mother-daughter relationships makes Leslie a very believable tale, terrifying in that the dangers of involvement in the drug culture are so imminent.

John W. Conner, in a review of "Leslie," in English Journal, Vol. 62, No. 3, March, 1973, p. 480.