At intimate distance, Glimmering Girls captures the subtleties of adolescent discovery, how innocence negotiates the “biological imperative.” Writing in the present tense, Gerber hovers in the moment as her heroine flirts with adulthood while keeping hard decisions at bay.
Francie is a senior at the University of Florida at Gainesville in 1959. Mary Ellen occupies the dorm room like a Buddha and fortune-teller whose prophecy is “a cover for every pot.” Francie’s friends Amanda and Liz talk her into moving off campus with them and three boys in a platonic household. She agrees, but keeps her parents in the dark about this radical arrangement. Francie meets Joshua, a music major, and experiences romantic love so intense she’s on Cloud Nine. Liz encourages Francie to be happy and “have fun in the here and now,” but graver issues intrude.
By observing the unities of theme, place, time and character, Gerber evokes an age that was just a glimmer.