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Book Marks - "Women's Studies"
January 16, 2007
by Richard Labonte
Click For Full Size Women’s Studies, by Julia Watts. Spinsters Ink, 256 pages, $14.95 paper.

This smartly soap-operatic novel is about three college-age Elizabeths whose paths cross on the first day of their “Women in Literature” class. That’s when their worldly professor, well-groomed Dr. Angela Rivers, asks them to distinguish themselves so she won’t become confused when calling the roll. The first Elizabeth, a perky sorority girl with a handsome boyfriend by day - and a penchant for alleyway sex with women by night - becomes Beth. The second Elizabeth, with a slacker boyfriend who isn’t much in bed - and a burgeoning interest in feminism that soon takes a sapphic turn - becomes Liz. The third Elizabeth, mushily in love with her high school girlfriend - who followed her to college on a softball scholarship from their white trash, redneck small town - becomes Elisa. Watts’ story, set in 1990, relates the young women’s assorted academic angsts, romantic delusions, and sexual confusions with warmth and humor. Their respective happy endings are no surprise, but the emotional bumps the girls encounter along the way give this novel of self-discovery a dash of insight.

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