SHADOWS ON A WALL by Charles E. Israel


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The author has taken a promising plot, tackled it with energy, and bludgeoned it out serious consideration with most tedious and improbable characters. Through diary flashbacks, we find that Nancy, a reporter stationed in Ghana, had adopted a charming little native girl and put her through mission school. After an affair or two, including one with an African named Adam, in which both parties part in pain from the looming impossibility of the color barrier, Nancy meets Lawrence, writer for a California publication, marries him and returns to the United States, where both officially adopt Akua, now seventeen, who comes to America. The question now is, ""Is she is or is she ain't our baby?"" In spite of help from Negro friends Jeff and Jean, it becomes obvious that Akua ain't, and in a final blow-up Akua viciously laces into ""Mani"" and ""Papa"", reveals a man at home and threatens blackmail. After a spat with Jeff and reconciliation, Akua is shipped back home, and Lawrence and Nancy join hands, united in something-or-other. The author's heart is surely in the right place, but the conversation is wearing -- Akua talks like Charlie Chan; Jeff has the jazzy heartiness of ""some of my best friends""; others pump away like hand cars. Too bad.

Pub Date: April 23rd, 1965
Publisher: Simon & Schuster