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Fiction Review    

 

WHITEGIRL
By Kate Manning
Delta, 2002
$13.95 (402 pages)
ISBN: 0-385-33721-3
 

 

 
 
Charlotte Halsey, after an unusually turbulent adolescence, left home in the only way acceptable to her fundamentalist parents, she went back east to attend Cabot College in the Green Mountains of Vermont.
 
Milo Robicheaux, whose parents left Louisiana as part of the great migration from the South, settled in New Hampshire, sending their children to the best schools and taught them to choose their battles carefully.
 
Charlotte and Milo first meet one another through a crack in the door to her dorm room when he's in search of Angela Williams, the only other black woman enrolled at Cabot College in the early 1970s. Charlotte, intrigued by Milo's voice and manner, assumes he's British to the amusement of her boyfriend Jack.
 
Rivals off and on the snow, Jack and Miles compete on the college's ski team and hope to make the winter Olympics.
 
Years later, when Charlotte and Milo encounter one another again at a party in New York, he remembers her as an ice princess who was willingly a trophy girlfriend. Charlotte remembers Milo's dignity and grace under pressure. She has watched Milo achieve his dreams of Olympic medals and enjoys telling people she "knew him in college." The two seem destined to be together -- she's a tall, leggy, blonde with a successful modeling career and he's the athlete everyone wants to meet. They think of themselves as a couple while the world likes the contrasts -- black versus white, beauty versus athlete, expectation versus reality, and fame versus identity.  As their world and marriage come undone, Charlotte sifts through their lives together in the hope of determining how they come undone.
 
WHITEGIRL rivets and dazzles.
 
Kate Manning, a former journalist and Emmy Award-winning television producer, lives in New York.
 
 
Pam Kingsbury
Southern Scribe Reviews
 

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