DOUGLAS by Grace Richardson
Kirkus Star


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This is the unusual book--the novel that really is for the high school age reader, for the intelligent, maturing teenager looking for the true fictional counterpart. The facility Miss Richardson demonstrated in Apples Every Day (1965, p. 1045-J 351) for capturing the school experience and the conversation of the adolescent student is just as, perhaps more, strongly apparent here although the academic environment is different from and older than Kenner School. And Douglas himself is a dominating figure, a strong unifying core to a much more complete novel than Apples. He's shown here, evolving, developing in three stages--being expelled from one high school and flunking out of another; dropping out of McGill University; failing at an attempt at independence in London. He has the range of talent and the optimistic enthusiasm to guarantee his status as a dilettante; his irresponsibility and lack of persistence make him fail inevitably. The psychiatrist he visited once articulated the difficulty--""Success can be quite a responsibility, something to live up to, to go beyond. Some people prefer to be losers."" Douglas' problems grow with age as he builds fantasies out of past incidents, accumulates lies, looks forward continually to fresh starts, but he is overwhelmed. The rest of Douglas' family, class-mates, teenagers, administrators and other adults are firmly, memorably, introduced and interrelated. Douglas--funny, touching, a fully-realized character--has the vulnerability that will reach teenagers.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1966
Publisher: Harper & Row