LISTEN FOR THE SINGING by Jean Little

LISTEN FOR THE SINGING

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The visually handicapped ""Awkward Anna"" who left pre-WW II Germany with her family in From Anna (1972) is now entering high school in Toronto--apprehensive about leaving the protective cocoon of her ""sight saving"" class; even more distressed when war breaks out and the family is hurt by anti-German prejudice; but still, despite herself, overjoyed when three other girls take her into their ""gang."" Given Anna's lack of sophistication (which must have seemed babyish even then), Little's account of her year--at home, at school, and at large with the gang--has the veracity of a tape-recorded transcription. But at times it's almost as boring, with Anna's own sober, plodding style reflected in the slow-moving, detailed narrative. (Her first day at school is not only followed minutely but summarized at different times for her family, her old friend, and her former teacher.) Then Anna's attention--and her story--become focused on her brilliant older brother's enlistment; he returns soon, blinded by an accident, bitter and withdrawn, and it's Anna who effects his emotional recovery, learning Braille to teach it to him, taking him out, devoting herself to the project. Though a bit soggy, this is at least more concentrated than what went before--and sure to be affecting for those who have borne with Anna so far.

Pub Date: June 30th, 1977
Publisher: Dutton