THE ONLY GIFT by Jane Eklund
Kirkus Star


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A first novel in which the sentience of physical as well as emotional background is stressed and which offers a finely fitted mosaio of family life. For the Lemmings, of Chicago, stand for The Best, Conformity, and household musts. It is the Lemming iron bars which have marked Gertrude, mother of Reggie, suddenly married to California Susan; Constance, properly married to a most respectable older man; Trudy, ready to but not yet willing to smash the pattern; Marty, next in line and deviating from the expected norm; and David, now being forced into the mold because of his love of painting. It is the Lemming tradition which has marked her husband, ""sacrifice"" for the family, slavery to the business, and a giving with one hand while taking away with the other. And it is within a year that this compression chamber blown apart the lives of the children; for Reggie's wife leaves him when he will not live his own life, Constance' marriage takes her away from home, Trudy and Marty smash their parents' plans and follow their own bents, and even David refuses the discipline of the school to which he is sent. A magnification, not only of the things that possess them, but of the small, secret ways of the woman's world versus the man's, of the slow linking of bonds that can only be broken by the young, this is preeminently feminine and finegrained.

Pub Date: Oct. 18th, 1949
Publisher: Houghton, Mifflin