SALLY by John Metcalfe


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It is hard to put one's finger on why this doesn't come off -- but for me, at least, it didn't. It seems to start out as a psychological novel -- to wind up as sheer melodrama. It is overlong -- for its ultimate values. And parts of it seem redundant, overwritten, heavy going. Yet, in spite of this, there is a sort of haunting fascination about it, an originality of theme, and some bits of powerful writing. The story of a bastard -- a ""foster child"" -- whose life is built on a tissue of lies which trip her up at every fresh start. Her early life is spent with an ex-dancer who is paid by the mother who wishes her identity concealed -- a Zeppelin bomb, on a London street, puts an end to that. Next -- a period of comparative happiness in an orphan asylum of glorified sorts. Then -- adoption, by a gentleman whose perverted tastes run to little girls -- and escape. Rediscovery, by a friend of the foster-mother, and virtual adoption by the man who was the supposedly real mother's husband. Again, hints of perversion and escape. A strange love affair -- desertion -- an abortion -- and a steady downhill skid, winding up with a murder trial for the death of the supposed father, who had attacked her. You see for yourself that it's not a Sunday School item. Watch your market. You'll get some unpleasant comments if you sell indiscriminately.

Pub Date: April 24th, 1936
Publisher: Scribner