NO ENEMY BUT TIME by Evelyn Wilde Mayerson


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A cheerful, Runyonesque gathering of genially quirky adults, likable kids, and a true-blue stinker or two in WW II Miami--with the same sense of oddball community that backgrounded Mayerson's touching bag-lady odyssey, If Birds Are Free (1980). Hilary MacIntyre is ten, has big ears, and kid brother Freddie is the despair of his teachers--but together the pair is terrific at mean games at the Hotel Flamingo, where their parents work: ""Jelly Doors"" (marmalade on knobs), for instance, or an invisible-wire specialty called ""See You in the Fall."" Among the inhabitants of the Flamingo Arms: rotten Sol Radnor, a pill from Philly; Sol's ""kept woman,"" beautiful Mickey Biscayne, Hilary's best friend; baker Gus, a German-American who gets interned because he teaches Freddie how to make toy Messerschmitts; black house-maid Winona; and brat Rudy, whose mother is doing naughty things with Lipschultz, male half of the dance team of Lipschultz and Gomez. True, the war comes to Miami--with soldiers marching in, school lessons in how to douse an incendiary bomb, sentries on the beach, and the horrible times when men and bodies are washed ashore from torpedoed ships. But while Hilary's mother Ilona worries about her Jewish family in Europe, Hilary is worried about friends, boyfriends, and sex: Mickey gives her ""cute"" lessons (peering through lowered lashes, etc.); Hilary's first boyfriend is bossy, but her school popularity rises. And other personal preoccupations mount: Mickey dumps Sol for Air Force trainee Bill but wedding plans are dashed by a voice from Mickey's secret past; Hilary's father, who's always wanted to ""make something of himself,"" disappears for days; Hilary is almost raped by a soldier; Freddie has a serious ear operation; and Grandmother, Ilona's only surviving family, arrives--gaunt, grim, and disagreeable. Mayerson virtually picks up and cuddles each friendly character--so you know there'll be a bloom of happy endings. And, complete with golden strands from old comedy radio broadcasts, this is a holiday sea-breeze from the past--primarily for those who remember.

Pub Date: April 18th, 1983
Publisher: Doubleday