OF LOVE AND DEATH AND OTHER JOURNEYS by Isabelle Holland

OF LOVE AND DEATH AND OTHER JOURNEYS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This begins on a deceptively supercilious note with an odd family assortment of emigres, calling themselves Flopsy, Mopsy, Peter and Cotton, who are eking out their living in Florence by shepherding groups of tacky American tourists they call Goody Packs. Then Mopsy discovers that her Mother (hitherto Flopsy) is dying of cancer and she (and we) begin to understand and admire this vulnerable eccentric. Much of what Mopsy learns is revealed by her father whom she now meets for the first time and who turns out to be an Anglican priest (to her a more shocking occupation than porn writer--which is what stepfather Peter is). Holland is an aggressive writer and some of this--father's button-down sincerity as well as Mopsy's flip sophistication--seems manipulated. But Mother's character and Mopsy/Meg's sorrow at seeing her waste away in silence are genuinely moving, and though later Mopsy's grief is sublimated in a crush on Cotton and worked out through his rejection, one can respect the fact that a mother's death is not treated here as just another YA problem. Awkwardly developed at times, but there's some real emotion here that can't be ignored.

Pub Date: April 14th, 1975
Page count: 159pp
Publisher: Lippincott