At First I Hope for Rescue (Knopf $26.95)
Rozzy Wanaker is a street-smart, cynical, 17 year old bulimic on her way to stay with her aunt Nan in the fictional town of Ruth, B.C.
Rozzy's mother has died in a fire. Rozzy's father, a gynecologist, is too busy working on medical research to deal with her or the aftermath of the tragedy. So he sends her to Ruth, the small town that ties together Holley Rubinsky's five linked short stories in At First I Hope for Rescue (Knopf $26.95).
En route, in a hotel lounge, a family friend tries unsuccessfully to console Rozzy.
“Acting is how they [adults] get past the hard places,” Rozzy thinks to herself. “That's why they can spot bad acting in movies and on TV. They say, like, Oh that's so unbelievable, did you see that expression? It's because they know; they perform all the time. I've been close enough to know all the compromises adults make.
“That's why I'm bulimic; I don't intend to be one, I intend to stop my body processes from maturing. That's what the shrink says I'm doing and I hadn't thought about it quite in that way.
“I'm not an elite level gymnast, my build is too big, but they suffer from the little girl syndrome: they have to stay small and young and then Bela will love them and the American audience will too, especially if they perform while wounded and in pain. The shrink said those girls and I had the need for approval in common.”
After Rozzy and her mother's friend leave the lounge, Rozzy heads for the bathroom where she barfs up the fries she ate for lunch before continuing on her journey.
Rubinsky, winner of the Journey Prize and author of Rapid Transits and Other Stories, divides her time between Kaslo and Toronto. She grew up in southern California and came to teach in the Kootenays in 1975. She is a practitioner of the Usui (Reiki) System of Natural Healing.