My Back Pages: Perfume in Beverly Cleary’s “Fifteen”

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Being a teenager wasn’t quite what I expected. This disappointment might have resulted from my earlier reading of Beverly Cleary’s four high-school novels—Fifteen, Jean and Johnny, Sister of the Bride, and The Luckiest Girl—and the obvious gap between their 1950s world and my own. Where were the dates at soda fountains, the school dances that required semi-formal gowns and corsages, the baby-sitting jobs?

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