VIEWS FROM VALLEY FRONT by Beatrice Jefferson Stubbs


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The author of these nine essays is an octogenarian from rural Georgia. The wary reader may cry, ""Oh no! Not another Helen Hoover Santmyer!"" Relax. Stubbs is both more and less than Santmyer, much to her own advantage. Her essays are slim, sprightly things, and the author turns out to be pretty sharp after all. There are appreciations of nature: good words are put in for mountains and trees. The tone is upbeat and grandmotherly. The narrative is so positive, so calm, that it evokes FDR's fireside chats. Stubbs' sense of humor even extends to her own body: she describes her exercise program, which consists exclusively of ""squirming in bed,"" complete with pelvic gyrations that ""would certainly be suggestive in a younger woman, but at my age. . .?"" There is an essay in appreciation of bread, and another of less interest about Cherokee history. Her article on exercise is rather jocular in tone, but she settles down to some serious maxims by book's end. She recommends two thoughts for her readers: ""Never hesitate to explore a new idea, but just don't go overboard."" The second maxim is a bit more controversial, being the words of the old Christmas Carol ""God rest ye Merry Gentlemen, let nothing you dismay. . .,"" which Stubbs cites as ""God Rest You, Merry. . ."" Her point is that in order to avoid dismay, one must remember that, as the song continues, ""Christ our Saviour was born on Christmas Day."" This is certainly the gentlest and least strident argument for born-again beliefs delivered lately. Stubbs is, for better or worse, a true writer of our times.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1986
Publisher: John Blair