Tell Me If The Lovers Are Losers

Tell Me If The Lovers Are Losers
Cynthia Voigt
1982

NUTSHELL: Graceful execution, low on style. Out of 10 points, this one earns 7.

Are the lovers losers, then? Shockingly enough, that question is never answered in the novel. It’s not even mentioned.

So what’s the book about? Flap copy as follows: Life had always been predictable for Ann . . . until she met her college roommates, Niki and Hildy. Niki is always in motion, brash, often vulgar, with a philosophy of “win at any cost.” And Hildy’s aura of serene wisdom cloaks a most unusual way of looking at things. They became inseparable — until something happened that changed their lives forever.

I repeat: what… I know, I know. It’s, cripes, 1961? Sometime in the early sixties, anyway. Mainly, it’s about a bunch of college freshmen kicking ass at volleyball while getting used to life in the Real World.

You’re terrible at volleyball and you were born in 1986, yet this is a reread. Yep. I remembered some awesome character development from the first time around. I was sort of right. Ann stays very milquetoast, passive, and naïve throughout the novel. Niki doesn’t get any less obnoxious. The real draw here is Hildy, straight off a farm in the Midwest. She’s smarter than either of the other girls, though she has the most trouble academically. She’s the most richly drawn of the three. (Arranged marriage to a widower with two kids? Yeah, they’re lovers anyway. It’s all good.)

So why does this one not get full marks? Because frickin’ Cynthia Voigt went and killed off Hildy at the end. Why? Dear God, Hildy was the only person in the book!

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