The Most Beautiful Girl in the World
by Judy Doenges
University of Michigan Press. 211 pages, $24.
ARE THE LAWS OF NATURE different for beautiful girls? Robin Simonsen, the heroine of Judy Doenges’ wry and poignant Bildungsroman, The Most Beautiful Girl in the World, comes to think so. Robin’s mother is dead, and her father, Heath, splashing around in his own grief, has little time for her. What’s more, he’s a drug dealer and user and a junk man whose life is overrun with chaos. From the beginning he has his role as a father backward: most of the time his daughter seems to be parenting him. The characters Heath brings through the house and thus through Robin’s life include a long string of men and women who are addicts, deadbeats, and/or criminals.