THE BAD EXAMPLE by Irmgard Keun


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The many episodes in a German youngster's life reflect the continuing battle of the centuries -- youth in the world of adults -- for the 10-to-13-year old here tells ""God everything but not grownups"" and since she knows more than the older people think, there's running interference on every front. The time is World War I and after, the and the skirmishes start with the death of her head mistress and go place, Cologne, through to the wreck of her aunt's attempts at marriage and her own terrific passion for an opera singer. There is a new baby whose arrival is softened by her father's participation in dropping water bombs; a near brush with being a prodigy; the time when she is a germ carrier and the darling of soldiers who want to get on the sick list; the Armistice coincides with her conduct marks; collecting horse droppings is no help to her father's business but is spurred on by the chance to win Wild Mary, a dog -- and it is amazing how things that are so good can turn out to be so frightful. The undeceived the absolutes of friends and enemies, the running fire between what is logical at eye, a child's age and what is expected on the older level -- these are uncontaminated by worldliness and marked with the touch of another era and another country. The appeal here is for a special audience alert to an innocent charm.

Publisher: Harcourt, Brace