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Red Sneakers

Jessica Olin: Karen Bender, 14 December 2000

Like Normal People 
by Karen Bender.
Picador, 269 pp., £10, October 2000, 9780330373791
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... When we first meet Lena Rose, the ‘mildly retarded’ heroine and whirlwind centre of Karen Bender’s novel, it is her wedding anniversary, and she has set fire to her room at the residential home known optimistically as Panorama Village. Lena’s mother, Ella, has been summoned to deal with the situation and plead Lena’s case to Mrs Lowenstein, the home’s director, in the hope of averting her daughter’s expulsion ...

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