PORTRAIT OF DEBORAH by Florence Chanock Cohen


Email this review


A perceptive if not flawless story of how a young girl discovers her real values. When Deborah moved from the South side of Chicago to the more fashionable Northvale, she was forced to sacrifice a high school scholarship to the Academy of Music. At first she is angered by the criticism of her new music teacher, but later she accepts it and grudgingly begins to work. Problems of anti-semitism and bigotry add to Debbie's unhappiness. She is immediately introduced to a group of Jewish girls at school with whom she is expected to identify herself. Her love affair with Steve Randall, a Gentile, is kept secret because of community and family pressures. But when Steve succumbs to his parents', wishes and relinquishes his dream of becoming an artist to enter law school, Debbie realizes that he will never have the courage to bring their love out of hiding. With the examples before her of her brother Mark and her old friend Tony who follow their ideals in the face of opposition, Debbie decides to risk failure and apply for another music scholarship. Aside from a disturbing vagueness concerning Jewish identification and a certain diffuseness of plot, there are many thought provoking elements for teenage readers here.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1961
Publisher: Messner