HEY, WHAT'S THE MATTER WITH THIS ONE? by Maia Wojciechowska

HEY, WHAT'S THE MATTER WITH THIS ONE?

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

What's wrong with this one is that it can't decide whether to be psychodrama or farce bordering on fantasy. Mott and Davidson and Harley (in ascending order of age) need a mother and know it, each for distinct, repeatedly specified reasons. Meanwhile their father has trouble even keeping a housekeeper because they're so bad (i.e. disturbed). When the last leaves, Mott, the unsquelchable youngest who's been scouting around for a mother, snags likely candidates in the supermarket (""Hey, what's the matter with this one?""), to the mortification of his father. One such, gaudily dressed as per his favorite magazine lady (she's really promoting a rummage sale), doesn't get away: a tumbling pyramid of cans throws her and Mr. Elliott together. In undue time she volunteers to help him out temporarily, turns up (simply dressed and therefore unrecognizable) just when the boys are administering a tolerance test (sample question: ""Do loud noises make you nervous?"") to job applicants, passes handily and, deciding to play along, copes with their conflicting psyches during a turbulent afternoon. By now they're seeing her as a prospective mother--and so, to no surprise, does their father. A loud little kid pouncing on strangers in a supermarket is funny--once--which is more than can be said for her hat landing on his head (the newly-mets howl at this; maybe they are made for each other). Anyhow the humor is encumbered with earnestness, and that all too explicit.

Pub Date: May 7th, 1969
Publisher: Harper & Row