Opening Sentence:In the spring of my fourteenth year, the Earth blossomed with men and boys, staggered under the weight and richness of their profusion.
Synopsis:’Cheesecake’, ‘Jailbait’, ‘Sex Kitten’ – the words seemed to open doors to a splendid new self. But from the moment she decides to lose her virginity and reels in her prey, a ‘full-grown man’, fourteen-year-old Kathy is headed for trouble. One cold, raw March night some months later, parked in a car on the the outskirts of town with four boys she thought were her friends, she finds it.
This is the story of a young girl – the oldest daughter in a Catholic family of six children, with a rebellious older brother, an exhausted mother whose attention Kathy craves, and a glamorous father whom she idolises – struggling to find her proper place in the world. In the spring of her fourteenth year suddenly ‘the earth blossomed with men and boys…they were everywhere’, and Kathy sees her path towards power and freedom. But girls who break rules in small towns like hers are expected to pay a high price for their transgressions, and Kathy soon learns the price. How she stepped out of that car forever altered, but not forever damaged, and how she learned to fight back after being labelled as a slut, insulted and ostracised in her own neighbourhood, is also part of her story. Always aware that her ambitions were bigger and more complicated than the suburbs she grew up in, Kathy was determined to come through and to transform her fate.
Comments:Despite the graphic nature of some scenes in this book (let’s face it – they see worse in movies), The Only Girl in the Car is essential reading for any teenage girl. In a world where sex is everywhere, and girls are losing their virginity earlier and earlier, this book illustrates the trouble being too free with your body can lead to. Sex can be a beautiful thing, especially when you are just discovering your sexuality, but it can also be very, very ugly. Many parents are reluctant to discuss sexual matters beyond the ‘what’s happening to me’ talk. Yet, without our guidance, how can our girls learn the difference between the beauty and ugliness of sexual encounters? It is our responsibility as parents to move past our embarrassment or conservatism and teach girls how to behave in the world they live in (vastly different from when we grew up). This book is a perfect example of the ugliness that can result if girls do not learn to control their sexuality.