Kirkus Star


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Jean Rikhoff has achieved that difficult exception to the rule, a second novel which is fully as good if not better than the first, and she continues to demonstrate Tolstoy's dictum about unhappy families. Whereas pride, and possession, accounted for most of the trouble among the five Timble sisters of Dear Ones All, lovelessness is the prevailing condition now among their six children. Four have never left Springfield, Illinois: Carolyn who drinks to submerge the memory of a lover and the reality of her husband; Pete, always broke, with Peggy and five kids- ""mistakes"", Erwin trying to live up to the Eastern college superiority of his wife; and Eileen, fettered to her family and afraid of a man's love. The two others, who have lived in New York, now return and for them the going home is a kind of going back: Lois, haunted by her mother's unexplained suicide and an affair just ended in the casualty of an abortion; Stu by a parental relationship he has never worked out now faces the prospect of paternity with the strident, fleshy wife of a longstanding but only intermittent marriage. In devastating domestic scenes, this traces the diminuendo from desire to disgust, from boredom to desperation. And, if somewhere around the midmark there doesn't seem to be a pinfeather left on that bluebird of happiness, still- by the close, there are more hopeful portents for Carolyn, Erwin, Lois and perhaps Stu... Mrs. Rikhoff is a strong writer and establishes a very direct contact with her readers. Her novel has a tremendous emotional urgency and undertow.

Pub Date: Jan. 18th, 1962
ISBN: 0595154530
Publisher: Viking