This mid-length novel details the lives of Enid, Felix and Lyle Stevick very well, weaving them together in violent, explicit and tragic ways to show a tapestry of life in America’s “golden years”. Though published in 1987, You Must Remember This exposes taboo topics from the fifties. This novel will cultivate readership today and tomorrow because these “forbidden” topics of childhood sexuality, lust, governmental distrust, death, mortality, self-control and rebellion remain relevant.
Oates depiction of a grey, dilapidated fictitious town in upstate New York is uncanny and parallels real-life upstate New York well (sorry Buffalo area). Through her excellent writing, Oates makes this novel worth the read even with an unclear resolution. Maybe this was her intention, to startle, shock and jolt the reader into a new perspective on adolescent sexuality and our own mortality.
Grab a large glass of cabernet, your snuggie and slightly overweight cat and get ready for a gripping and powerful novel that will erase your weekend.
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