Tuesday, September 28, 2010

That Archer Girl (1959)

Anne Emery, il. Charles Geer (cover)
1959, The Westminster Press

Anne Archer was a Girl Who Had Everything.

A slim blonde from the oldest family in town, Anne Archer is a senior at the exclusive Auburn Academy, a private day school in a wealthy Chicago suburb. The holiday season, and the approaching end of her high school career, plus the spectacular debut her mother's planning for the spring, are making Anne restless.

...the debut always brought with it the gnawing question of what she would do afterward.

Part of her solution to the anxious boredom is to crash the local public high school's dance with another girl's boyfriend. Her problems seem to recede when she falls hard for Ron, and he for her. But she's aware that he's fallen in love with only one side of her, and she's even slightly conscious that if he sees who she can be, it would be a disaster.

Anne has a reputation, and not just as the local golden girl. Although her family connections and personal looks ensure a certain level of acceptability, she also has an unsavory history of going too far with too many boys. Anne dismisses the latter; that's who she was last year. This year - and the New Year - will be different. But when her best friend, brainy Christie, finds a male soulmate, it drives Anne over the edge. Despite her love for Ron, Anne's driven to make brainy, distant Kent respond to her. To be rebuffed torments her, and as Kent retreats further from her advances, she becomes frantic to gain his interest.

Anne's nastiness is made clear early:

"I hate people that make me feel sorry for them," Anne said. "It makes me kick them around. They ought to know better."

There are hints of why Anne's so cold and controlling - childhood cruelty at school, her parents' distance - but while they're offered as a way to understand her, she's never excused by either the author or the other characters. Anne herself takes pains to conceal any weakness, attacking it in others and impatient with criticism.

On the other hand, Ron's a little overly obsessed with Anne as his personal property. Her behavior is wrong, but his anger at her flirting seem a little creepy coming from an unmarried high school boy regarding his girlfriend.

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Other Books by Author

Dinny Gordon Series:

Dinny Gordon, Freshman
Dinny Gordon, Sophomore
Dinny Gordon, Junior
Dinny Gordon, Senior

Senior Year
Going Steady
Sorority Girl
High Note Low Note
Campus Melody

County Fair
Hickory Hill

Sweet Sixteen
First Love True Love
First Orchid for Pat
First Love Farewell
The Popular Crowd
The Losing Game

Scarlet Royal
Vagabond Summer
That Archer Girl
Married on Wednesday
A Dream to Touch
Bright Horizons
Mountain Laurel
Jennie Lee, Patriot

American Friend: Herbert Hoover
Mystery of the Opal Ring
Danger in a Smiling Mask
Carey's Fortune
The Sky Is Falling
Free Not to Love

A Spy in Old Philadelphia
A Spy in Old Detroit
A Spy in Old New Orleans
A Spy in Old West Point