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Ferrante moves from the working class Naples of her Neapolitan novels to the middle class city and academe. Her main character transitions from a sweet and happy 12 year old to an estranged 16 year old. Often it is difficult to remember that she is a child of 14 or 15 - her thoughts seem to be those of an older person. As she engages the world, her appearance and relationships with boys and men are the most important standards by which she defines herself.

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