Bache (Safe Passage, LJ 9/1/88) brings a new twist to the classic tale of teenage rebellion. In the tumultuous years of the 1960s, Beryl longs for a normal family. Instead, she finds herself in a house churning with liberal ideas, a house she dreams of escaping. Her revolutionary mother in particular is a constant source of embarrassment. Beryl's liberation finally occurs when she enters the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Upon arrival, however, she discovers ugly rot beneath the veneer of Southern hospitality; the blatant racism and religious intolerance are impossible to ignore. Beryl tries her hardest to stay neutral, even after she falls for the handicapped David, who hangs out with the campus radicals, yet she soon realizes that even an unwilling daughter must sometimes follow in her mother's footsteps. Though at times the story drifts, Bache has created a realistic teenager in Beryl, a character filled with contradictions and searching for acceptance. Recommended.-Erin Cassin, "Library Journal"
Bache (Safe Passage, 1993, etc.) delivers an uneven tale of a girl who undergoes typical freshman-year college experiences in highly unusual times.
It's 1963, and Beryl Rosinsky's father is a blacklisted architect, her mother a civil rights activist who is away for weeks at a time demonstrating against racism in the South. Beryl, preoccupied with college plans, can't stay far enough away from her mother's radical beliefs. Leah Rosinsky wants Beryl to pick a school near their home in Washington D.C., but then great-grandmother Bubby dies while visiting the family, and Beryl, feeling irrationally responsible, sinks into depression. To cheer her up, father and grandmother urge her to attend the University of North Carolina, thinking that a change of scene will be beneficial. There, Beryl discovers an unfamiliar world: sororities, stern housemothers, a roommate who's the blondest girl she's ever met, another who spends hours listening to "Louie Louie." Beryl learns to tease her hair and wear Weejuns, but she doesn't quite fit in with this bunch. She spends most of her time with the moody David Lazar, who's bitter about his paralyzed leg. David hangs around the fringes of a liberal crowd, and in their company Beryl becomes more aware of Chapel Hill's racial politics. She grows curious about the picketers in front of Packard's, with its whites-only lunch counter; she notices that Emily, the dorm's only black student, is quietly excluded; she introduces the dorm to bagels and noodle pudding and comes to appreciate her Jewish heritage. But it's not until a roommate is pressured into marriage that Beryl's own activism blossoms and she and her mother edge toward rapprochement.
The writing is often pedestrian, the emotional core of the mother-daughter relationship thinly sketched. But Bache's warm humor and her zest for period detail make for an engrossing portrait of an era.