LEAVING HOME by Elizabeth Janeway


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Ten years have passed since The Walsh Girls signalled a new talent. Daisy Kenyon, while popular, disappointed the prophets. The Question of Gregory intrigued while it baffled. Now with Leaving Home, the promise of the first book seems fulfilled. Not everyone will like it. The characters are so fully realized that they rouse one's indignation, they irritate, they perplex -- but they don't leave the reader somnolent. The period is the thirties; the place- New York and its environs. The central characters are two sisters, Nina and Marion -- caught successively at the point of rebellion against the commonplaces of life and finding their rebellions affecting them in rather violent and unpleasant ways; and a brother, Kermit, who is perpetually in revolt and accepted by his family as ""different"". They don't know quite what to do about it -- nor does Kermit, who swings from extreme to extreme- now getting involved in shady dealings, now interfering actively to preserve his sister image and showing a spark of tenderness and fineness under the crass overlay. To me the book had something of the tinsel of John Phillips' The Second Happiest Day in the glimpses of cafe society, suburbia edition. But the issues were more substantial, the people had more reality, and in final analysis that particular aspect of the book's pattern proved simply a phase- and not a whole. The book will shock the unsophisticates- libraries on guard! But in retrospect there's a kind of integrity- sometimes an honest anger- that redeems it from cheapness. Certainly not a book to disregard. I think it will sell.

Pub Date: Oct. 22nd, 1953
Publisher: Doubleday