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Not Exactly a Love Story
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
What's the story?
Life gets bumpy for Vinnie just after he turns 15, in 1977. The girl he likes moves away, his parents split up, he suffers an awful acne outbreak, he gets mugged, and his mom starts dating his gym teacher, who's flunking him. He and his mom move from Queens to Long Island, and things start to look up: The girl next door is adorable, and Vinnie wants to get to know her. He comes by her private number, musters the courage to call her late one night, and blurts out an obscenity. The next night he calls to apologize, and then he keeps calling at midnight, anonymously, imagining himself transformed into the mysterious Vincenzo. They reveal more of themselves during these midnight calls even as Vinnie starts to get to know Patsy in real life. But she's smitten with her midnight caller, leaving Vinnie searching for a way to slip out of his web of lies and fully realize the genuine relationship they've nurtured.
Is it any good?
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how differently this story would play out today, with texting, cell phones, social networking, and email. Would Vinnie be able to remain anonymous for long? Do you think the flirtatious tone of the phone conversations would be different is the two were texting each other?
When Patsy agrees to meet her caller in an isolated place during the dance, do you think she's taking risks, being romantic, or a little bit of both?
In the '70s, Biff could only spread rumors about Patsy by talking with classmates, and telephone land lines were the only way Patsy and Vinnie could talk privately. Parents might want to talk about texting, cell phones, and safety. See our articles on giving your child a cell phone, preserving privacy, and dealing with digital harassment for advice.
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