Jo Spencer is a girl who knows what to be and how to be it'straight-A student, cheerleader, May Queen, popular and cute and virginal, and in perfect control. But halfway through her first year in college in the early seventies, her carefully normal life explodes and she comes completely undone. In The Cheerleader, Jo Spencer looks back, as if she were watching reruns of old syndicated TV shows, to figure out what happened.
Ordinary chance has dumped Sam Swett, age twenty-one, in the Marshboro, North Carolina, Quik Pik in the middle of a murder. Sam has shaved his head, given away all his belongings except his typewriter; he's drunker than he's ever been and running as fast as he can from his upper-middle-class upbringing. For the next twenty-four hours, Sam is propelled straight into the very core of this small Southern town as it sorts through the facts.
About the Author
Jill McCorkle is the author of nine previous books—four story collections and five novels—five of which have been selected as New York Times Notable Books. The recipient of the New England Book Award, the John Dos Passos Prize for Excellence in Literature, and the North Carolina Prize for Literature, she teaches writing at North Carolina State University and lives in Hillsborough, North Carolina. Visit her online at www.jillmccorkle.com.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This novel was written in 1984, and I wish I had read it then. In the first part of the book, Jo Spencer reflects on her childhood, family, friends, philosophy. In the second part, we see that in her high school and early college years, she falls apart, becoming obsessive and anorexic. I think at the time the book was written, the honesty in discussing Jo's lifestyle would have been stunning. Today, with what we know about anorexia, I suspect some of the fictional situations would have been differently perceived. I remember the first few anorexic young women I knew, in the early 1970s, and what our reactions were; and how that is not the same reaction we have now.McCorkle is a wonderful author; I recommend all her books and stories.
I thought this book was incredibly boring. It took me forever to read it. The back description is very misleading because it talks about Jo's (main character)life 'explodes half-way through her freshman year at college' when in fact I didn't read about anything really happening. I suppose it is possible that I was so badly bored to tears that towards the end of the book...nothing sunk in. I only finished so I could say 'thank god I finally finished it'.
I really loved this book! It was one of the best books I have ever read! The 1970's can relate to the present day. I first read Ferris Beach for school and fell in love with Jill McCorkle's style of writing. I also read this book and Carolina Moon. I was up all night reading them. This is a MUST read in my opinion!