Smith's latest sympathetic problem story casts the likable hero of Last Was Lloyd (1981) in a supporting role and puts his...

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THE FIRST HARD TIMES

Smith's latest sympathetic problem story casts the likable hero of Last Was Lloyd (1981) in a supporting role and puts his newcomer friend Ancil in the foreground. Twelve-year-old Ancil has recently moved to the beach town of Hanover, Georgia, when her artist mother married Harvey, the local newspaper editor. Unlike her three sisters, Ancil resents Harvey, rejects all his patient overtures, and, though her father has been MIA in Vietnam for eleven years, clings to his photo and the hope that he's still alive. But Lloyd sticks with Ancil through embarrassing swimming lessons (they are both classed as Little Fishes) and the more embarrassing photo of the group that Harvey, to her fury, prints in the newspaper. Her family is unusually patient with her recalcitrance; her grandparents in nearby Juniper prod her by redecorating Dad's old room (""It's time,"" they tell her); Harvey persists (you can sympathize with his efforts and her annoyance); and finally in the very last paragraph Ancil gives in: At a family picnic at the beach, she has made a wonderful sand castle that everyone wants to help with. And when sister Zan wants a picture for the paper, Harvey says humbly, ""We'll have to ask Ancil."" Smith effects this inevitable acceptance naturally, if without any special punch, and the depiction of Ancil's unhappy resistance is nicely rounded by Lloyd's sturdy presence, the family context, and Ancil's own fierce reactions to them all.

Pub Date: April 1, 1983

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1983