May 14, 1999 at 04:00 AM EDT

A Good Enough Daughter

Current Status
In Season
Alix Kates Shulman
Women's Studies, Biography, Memoir
We gave it an A-

Alix Kates Shulman’s 1969 feminist novel, the semiautobiographical Memoirs of an Ex-Prom Queen, recounted a Midwestern girl’s social and sexual rebellion. In this poignant memoir, the renegade prom queen finally accepts the mantle of dutiful daughter when she returns to Cleveland to dismantle her parents’ home and place them in a retirement community. Guilt stemming from her self-imposed New York exile compels her to take an unflinching look at herself as a daughter. She also delves into childhood memories of her adopted older brother, whose early death from lung cancer left their sibling rivalries unresolved. Although A Good Enough Daughter is a familiar tale — tending to family wounds, accepting the fallibilities of parents, passing the generational torch — in Shulman’s hands it becomes fresh and compelling. A-

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