By Lucy Ferris.
277 pages
New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996.
ISBN # 0-684-80091-8

Comments of Bob Corbett
February 2002

In January 1986 the name Christa McAuliffe entered into American legend. The Challenger space probe blew up upon take off and New Hampshire elementary school teacher Christa McAuliffe was among those killed. Lucy Ferriss’ narrator and central character of AGAINST GRAVITY, Gwen Strickly, 14 year old junior high student was there in Florida to see the life-off. We follow her life for the next 8 years as she grows and matures beyond her 22 years.

Lucy Ferriss paints a brilliant and poignant picture of life in Gwen’s tiny unnamed upstate New York village. She is in many ways a typical teen of the 80s, a bit cynical, much more innocent that she would like to admit, playing with alcohol and marijuana and while not into sex herself, is surrounded by others who are. She experiences great tragedies along with the mundane boring everydayness of her world and time. Gwen’s friend has an illegitimate child which she abandons and Gwen plays a role in this. She is dying to escape and finds her mediocre talent in dance might help her, leading to a bit part in a play in New York.

But the hometown calls both spiritually and through an accident and she returns to face her past and grow toward her future.

Lucy Ferriss writes with great sensitivity and telling detail of the life of Gwen Strickly. The story-line, while often just focusing on everyday rather typical details of a teen’s life, is gripping and kept me turning pages with anticipation. The drama she adds beyond the everyday was powerful and believable. Lucy Ferriss is a serious write worthy of being read.

Bob Corbett

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Bob Corbett