KOTCH by Katherine Topkins


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In spite of a touch of bathos lathering the plot, this story of old age and its isolation is touching, effective and sure to hit a nerve. Bristling with anger at his displacement as baby sitter for his beloved toddler grandson, by brash fifteen-year-old Erica, Kotch ruminates bitterly. His daughter-in-law Wilma, wall-ovened, operating smoothly as a new disposal unit, obviously found her father-in-law did not function accurately in the well ordered home, and even son Gerald suggests that Kotch take a mental test. In spite of cramming, Kotch sees the evidence pile up in the doctor's office, and flees with his savings, only to meet Erica, pregnant by a pimply classmate and alone. Kotch recognizes immediately a chance to participate in creating life and through this new child's love, recover his own. Erica, chattering gratingly like a covey of grackles, moves in with Kotch, who not only forestalls adoption proceedings for both Erica and the unborn child, but delivers the baby. However, Erica, bereft of a mate's love, gives up the baby, and Kotch, his lively old irascible spirits snuffed out by loneliness and lovelessness, gives up on life. Kotch, sputtering with noisy interior dialogues, is a spellbinder, and his crackling sentiments help dissipate the encroaching implausibility. Worth a look.

Publisher: McGraw-Hill