"Out at the city limits there's this sign that says WELCOME TO CLAYPITTS, PEARL OF THE PRAIRIE, and if you'd believe that, you'd believe anything."
Sixteen-year-old Carol Patterson is a girl in the middle: in the middle of her sisters, in the middle of her adolescence, in the middle of her family's problems.
It is the early seventies and the world is in turmoil, but hardly anything from the outside ever seems to creep in to effect the Pattersons, who live in half a house at the wrong end of town. But there is turmoil enough in Carol's own life. The family is barely getting by on her mother's waitress salary. Carol's bookishness and shabby clothes make her an outcast. Then Carol's older sister gets pregnant.
Still, in the midst of it all there is hope: Carol's first fledgling romance; her unexpected friendship with the preacher's daughter. And suddenly a door opens, providing Carol with a glimpse of the world outside Claypitts and a glimpse of her own inner strength.
Originally published in 1972, Don't Look and It Won't Hurt was Richard Peck's first novel. It was adapted for the movie Gas/Food/Lodging in 1992.