Old Lady Sweetly Is Twenty by Denise McKay

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"It is September 1951 and stunned Betty Wheatley is suffering from PVS (postvirginity syndrome). She just knows she’ll be unable to say no to the next amorous advance. She believes that all men can read her weakness—it’s written all over her face. She’s a harlot at the tender age of nineteen. And it’s all Cameron’s fault—Cameron with the bedroom eyes.

A reluctant Betty, banished to rural schoolism in the isolated mountain town of Narrows, British Columbia (pop. 41), takes hesitant command of the Green School with its knotholed outhouse and traitorous Quebec heater—her first taste of work, her first sniff of responsibility. Betty’s pupils, fifteen barn-scented empty heads, test her mettle; Betty repeatedly fails to get the upper hand. She is constantly reminded that she is pedagogically inept—a certified turkey.

She longs to run off—anywhere—after every disaster and exposé. But bits of skewed logic help her survive day-by-day; after all, a misanthropic roommate, a judgmental landlady, and a lascivious minister can’t be any worse to cope with than her own ill-matched parents. While she skirts around amorous advances from both sexes and spiteful hate letters calling her a she-devil, Cameron, her boyfriend attending university hundreds of miles away, proves to be unfaithful—the two-timing bastard!

Can she adapt to a lonely spinster life in the backwoods, or should she chuck the whole endeavor and run off to seek fame and fortune in Hollywood?

Fresh missteps and unexpected champions keep Betty flip-flopping and forming cockeyed deductions about everything and everyone until late springtime breezes dramatically challenge the village’s offbeat game of happenstance."

About Denise McKay

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Published February 22, 2012 by Trafford. 283 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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