COUSIN TO HUMAN by Jane Mayhall


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This is a baffling sort of book, which seems to head out for the Catcher in the Rye market- femininely slanted, but fails to pull the threads together into an integrated whole. Here is Lacy Cole's life between her 15th and 16th year, set in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1936. She is a sensitive, inarticulate girl, with an odd assortment of neurotic relatives. Papa, especially, is full of conflicting hatreds. Lucy's environment is dismal and unhealthy, at home or at school. Valeda, her best friend, gets into a complex pattern of homo- and heterosexualism, at junior high level, and is ultimately killed in an automobile accident. Lacy's own escape is suggested in her music teacher discovering great musical potentialities -- but somehow the evidence is shadowy to the reader, and distracted for Lucy when her teacher tries to develop her ""better self"" and work off his own frustrations on her. Then the one adored figure- her mother- dies slowly and hideously of cancer. And Lucy leaves for Boston to study music -- symbol of a happier future suggested in a beautiful sunset. One questions the place of this novel- neither sensational enough for one market- and too dismal for another.

Pub Date: Jan. 27th, 1959
Publisher: Harcourt, Brace