BIRD AT THE WINDOW by Jan Truss

BIRD AT THE WINDOW

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This Canadian novel of a pregnant 18-year-old has more literary pretensions than Prince's (above), but the self-conscious and keyed-up writing make it less convincing and its heroine less sympathetic. Unlike Kate in The Turkey's Nest, Angela does not want her baby. It was conceived out of sheer passivity on her part--the cloddish boy, a neighbor, helps out on her family's farm and is simply always there; and out of sheer passivity mixed with squeamishness, she procrastinates about getting an abortion. (As an aid to credibility, Truss has her try a folk remedy--nutmeg in gin--and, much later, one appeal to a doctor who turns out to be anti-abortion.) Conveniently, the just-pregnant Angela is graduating from high school and off for a year in Europe before going on to University. With the aid of an uncomfortably tight girdle, she gets through a working summer in the home of her disagreeable English grandparents; then she holes up in a London room--from which she is rushed to the hospital where the baby is, conveniently, born dead. Meanwhile, though, Angela has discovered that her narrow-minded father is not really her father; and when he dies suddenly, calling her home, she perversely takes his side against her mother, almost going so far as to marry the cloddish farm boy as a sort of affirmation of her father's limited values. Angela's mixed-up emotions give the story some interest, and her irrational behavior, self-dramatization, and artificial prose are not inconceivable in a bright girl her age. The trouble is that Truss appears to be as impressed by the overwrought phrases and as out of touch with any underlying human reality as Angela is. Too, this is one of those YA novels that could be stylistically difficult for a 12-year-old but too shallow for an older teen.

Pub Date: March 5th, 1980
Publisher: Harper & Row