Up until that summer at Moon Lake, Jo Spencer was the kind of girl who knows what to be and what to do—the cheerleader, the May Queen, the straight-A student, popular and cute and virginal, and in perfect control of her life. In her own words, Jo Spencer is “fit.”
Enter one Red Williams who has Been Around—older, more experienced, utterly different from all that she has known. Loving Red, or wanting to, she begins to lose that control. The swirl of the changes that the lazy-starting North Carolina summer brings, the accelerating pace and pressure to be what Red desires, as well as what her family and friends expect, ultimately spin Jo Spencer out of “fitness” altogether, until, halfway through her first year in college, her carefully “normal” life explodes.
A gifted storyteller, Jill McCorkle in her first novel reveals what it means to have grown up in years so recently gone by that their dynamics and patterns have not yet been explored. Jo Spencer, Cheer Leader, looks back to discover how it happened and what it was like, as if she were watching reruns of old syndicated TV shows, looking through a photo album, playing old hit 45s. Slumber parties and dope parties, the age of “Dizzy” by Tommy Roe and “I Dream of Jeannie,” the coming-of-age rituals of a town in the late 1960s and early 1970s—the seemingly trite made suddenly startling—here take on a memorable clarity of definition in this remarkable work of fiction by a talented young novelist.
” A strong and subtle novel about a young woman’s struggle to reveal her own reality.” —Los Angeles Times