Ready, Set, Oh
by Diane Josefowicz ’08
Published by Flexible Press (2022)
Diane Josefowicz’s debut novel, Ready, Set, Oh, is set against the upheavals of the Sixties and chronicles the struggles of a man who has just lost his draft deferment, a young pregnant woman with fragile mental health, and a UFO-chasing astronomer, each hostages in their own way to their families and to history.
Providence, Rhode Island, 1967. Tino Battuta returns home from medical school in disgrace and without his draft deferment to attend his grandfather’s funeral and to spend time with the love of his life, Primrose Tirocchi. Primrose, an art student, has an abusive home life and serious mental health challenges. But Primrose has plans; she is writing The Book of Love with her best friend while dreaming about living in New York and showing her art in galleries. Tino has a dream as well: to escape the war.
Complicating matters, Primrose is soon carrying Tino’s baby. Tino isn’t giving her the ring she wants, but Primrose isn’t so sure about their relationship either. Soon Primrose falls for Lupo Light, a budding astronomer with a deferment, who is caught up in a popular movement to link political liberation to a wave of UFO sightings.
While Tino and his best friend work on a boat that could be their ticket to Canada, Primrose joins the Students for a Democratic Society while trying to keep a grasp on her tenuous mental health.
Together, Primrose and Tino discover the limits of their finite possibilities as well as the fragility of their resilience. Ultimately, they must confront the question: how much choice do we really have in the paths our lives take?