Coyote Creek Press
5 out of 5 stars
Reviewed by Nancy
It’s 1981 and 17-year-old Norma Rogers’ parents drop her off at the college dorms. Soon, Norma finds herself drunk and nearly naked with three strangers. The strip poker event is the first of many experiences that prompt Norma to question who she is and who she wants to be. Norma’s relationships with an array of characters induce her to grapple with society’s messages about women, sex, and freedom. Many tumultuous events take Norma through an array of troubles, pleasures, and thrills: from drug use and ominous encounters with strangers, to rowdy parties and road trips, to queer coming-out surprises. In the midst of these incidents, Norma reflects on her desire for freedom, (sexual and otherwise). Ultimately Norma comes to see that there are many ways to live and love.
It is 1981. Norma Rogers is 18 years old, a college student, and on her own for the first time in her life. As someone who was only a year older than Norma in 1981, I can relate to having too much freedom, too many choices, and not enough guidance. “If it feels good, do it” was definitely the motto of life in the 80’s. Or at least it was for many young people at that time.
Right from the beginning, I was drawn into Norma’s life – the parties, the friendships, the joy, the struggles, and the sadness. Kate Evans has created a cast of unique and vividly portrayed characters that are so easy to connect with emotionally. Each character, from her distant boyfriend, Jack, to her dorm neighbors Goat, Liz, Benny and Chuck, her roommate, Stacy, and her parents and sister, had a significant impact on her life while she was in college and in the years after.
I loved every moment with Norma, her friends and her family. They allowed me to relive the pain and pleasure of my own youth, difficulty with parents, old friendships, ex-lovers, the hangovers, the highs, wanting to fit in, needing to be loved. I enjoyed the 80’s cultural references, the snappy dialog, the twists and the surprises.
A wonderful story!