Where did the end begin?"" The slowly degenerative, sad end for two of the three Carpenter children (the story is narrated...

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A MINGLED YARN: Chronicle of a Troubled Family

Where did the end begin?"" The slowly degenerative, sad end for two of the three Carpenter children (the story is narrated to Dr. Parker by the survivor Amy), descendants of an upstanding old family and more immediately an indomitable and socially ambitious grandmother. And of Eliot Carpenter, their father, who made his way through college and earned a million by the time he was 35, only to lose it in a ruinous litigation which lasted 20 years and kept him away from home. Or their mother, Laura, ""cute,"" gentle, genuinely concerned about her children but when all was said and done, self-protectively purblind. Dr. Parker's contention (as a discreet listener-questioner she amplifies throughout in separate insets) is that schizophrenia can be attributed to ""communication deviance"" which in this particular story comes down to plain avoidance. Virginia, the eldest child, a sort of Fitzgeraldish character, seems to be succeeding, although one marriage and then another dissolves and she Finally just lets go. Eliot, namesake and middle child, after proper prep school beginnings, is increasingly lost in ""sinful"" sex and liquor and the distortion of a sick mind. Amy, after four years of classical analysis and deliberately degrading attachments, works it all out. The chronicle is really a memoir with the virtues of a novel; it involves as surely as it informs and far exceeds the parochial interest of the clinical casework (most recently Dewald's Psychoanalytic Process, p. 763).

Pub Date: Oct. 11, 1972

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Yale Univ. Press

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1972