|GOOD GIRLS, BAD GIRLS
Coming of Age in the 60s
As an adolescent, Jake Ernst received two bits of
advice from his mother; first, "There are good
girls and bad girls -- stay away from the bad
ones," and second, "Sex without love is a sin." In
those innocent days, a boy lucked out if he got
any advice from his parents at all.
A good-looking country lad in Lancaster County,
Pennsylvania, Jake grows up in an age of
innocence compared to the present times with
hard drives, cell phones, and omnipresent porn.
He has to learn on his own as he faces baffling
trials. With academic aspirations he is
constantly challenged -- intellectually, socially,
sexually -- as he metamorphoses into his adult
In Miller's finely crafted novel, which captures
those times with exquisite empathy, we grow
with Jake in his exasperating, comic, and
poignant journey from so-called happy days to
the brink of some of the most turbulent years of
our nation's history.
Jake's voyage is a joy to dwell in as we puzzle
with him about which of his girls are good ones
and which are bad. Or are his mother's words a
bit to cryptic? Are things not so black and white?
Whether they are or not, a magnificent flashback
in time awaits the reader.
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