02 June 2011

Little Darlings

A novel by Sonia Pilcer. Based on the screenplay by Kimi Peck and Dalene Young.

First line:  Carrying a torn plaid suitcase held together by a plastic belt, Angel Bright walked away from the pre-fab flat they'd been living in for the past three years.

Publisher's Synopsis: Girls can do a lot of growing up in a summer, and that is precisely what the young ladies of Camp Little Wolf plan to do. In addition to swimming, boating, and arts and crafts, the campers have arranged a private contest: who among them will be the first to lose her virginity.

Among the contestants are Ferris Whitney, smug, rich and more than a little bit spoiled, and Angel Bright, the camp's scholarship winner, proud, tough, and defensive about her poverty. The two become opponents in a funny and touching fight for sexual sophistication, goaded on  both by passion and peer pressure.

But on the way to womanhood, each is to learn a few important lessons - about friendship, personal responsibility, and love. Each will indeed go all the way - from child to adult.

This book was actually written after the movie, and is based on the screenplay. I usually avoid those types of books, but I enjoyed this one. At first I felt a little irritated when the dialogue or a scene was a little different than the movie. And how sad is it that 30 some years after the movie was released I still remember it well enough to be able to compare it to the book? I watched it on cable over and over and over - it was one of my favorite movies at that time. Anyway, eventually it occurred to me that since it is based on the screenplay, some of the few bits that I don't remember may have ended up being cut from the movie. And as the movie was filmed, some things may have been changed. Like the very end contains some dialogue between Angel and Ferris that I don't remember from the movie, but that I enjoyed very much.

Ferris Whitney and Angel Bright are two fifteen year olds spending the summer at Camp Little Wolf. Ferris (played by Tatum O'Neal in the movie) comes from a rich family, and arrives at the bus with her parents, in a Rolls Royce. She is described on the cover copy as being "smug...and more than a little bit spoiled", which does not do her justice as she did not appear to be either of those things to me. She is a little shy, self-conscious about her clothing and her father's expensive car, lonely, and anxious to make friends and to just fit in and be accepted by other girls.

On the outside, Angel (played by Kristy McNichol in the movie) is a tough-talking, cigarette smoking, beer drinking, loner. On the inside she shares Ferris' insecurities - she is a little shy, self-conscious about her clothing and her mother's beat up crap car, lonely, and anxious to make friends and to just fit in and be accepted by other girls. She doesn't really want to attend camp but her mother insists on it.

Neither girl really wants to compete in this contest, but allow themselves to be pushed into it. The camp, and their own cabin, are soon divided into sides, and targets are chosen. Ferris is attracted to one of the camp counselors, Gary, an older man (charmingly played in the movie by Armand Assante). Angel sets her sights on Randy, a boy at the camp across the lake (played in the movie by Matt Dillon, which is probably why I was so in love with this movie at that time).

A nostalgic read that I enjoyed.

(I received this book from a Book Mooch member in April 2011.)

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