Kirkus Reviews

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Last Updated on June 7, 2022, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 190

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[Zoa Sherburne, with her novel Leslie,] turns to the problem of drugs and the result is a real pot boiler. Leslie's very first joint involves her as an accessory to a fatal hit-and-run accident and eventually lands her in the hospital when the car's driver Chip … slips LSD in her coffee to keep her from going to the police. Though Leslie's mom is a cardboard model of the well-meaning, ineffectual parent, the grownups' superior wisdom is never in doubt—Tom, mother's new boyfriend, arrives on the scene just in time to provide the guidance of a benevolent father and the kindly juvenile court judge lets Leslie off with a warning—after all, she's basically a good girl. Worse than the heavy dose of moralizing warnings (including a verbatim account of a policeman's speech to a school assembly) is the total lack of feeling for youthful lifestyles…. Sherburne fails to demonstrate even minimal empathy with the age group she is writing about, and as a result, Leslie's decision to come clean has less impact than a Sunday school sermon.

A review of "Leslie," in Kirkus Reviews, Vol. XL, No. 19, October 1, 1972, p. 1154.


Marianne Hough


John W. Conner