VERONICA GANZ by Marilyn Sachs
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Laura's nemesis Veronica Ganz (Amy and Laura, 1966) has a whole book to throw her size around in but she's stymied from the start by new-boy-in-the-class Peter Wedemeyer, who's also the shortest. And quite possibly the canniest. Not only does he insult her ("Veronica Ganz/ Doesn't wear pants" etc., etc.) and block her fist with a basket of fish leavings, but his continued success at evading revenge threatens her tyranny over the class. It also disturbs Veronica more than the non-appearance of the father she hasn't seen in eight years, and much more than her yelling mother, her acquisitive younger sister, her chronically hiccupping little step-brother. Actually she feels defensive, even protective about them, which is the first clue to her bullying; and the merit of the full disclosure that she's extra tall and insecure about being a girl is that it comes to the reader just as it comes to Veronica--as the sum of a succession of rueful incidents. The most salient is her realization that Peter continues to tease her because he likes her, that she can tease him because she likes him; on the joyful note of "What a crier/ Is Peter Wedemeyer" we leave Veronica en route to reconciliation without losing face or her own distinctive features. If this reverse image recalls Mary Stolz' Bully of Barkham Street, that's all right as far as it goes--except that Veronica is less pitiable and this is less a psychological examination, more a total immersion. With laughter from deep down.
Pub Date: April 5th, 1968
ISBN: 0595483941
Page count: 160pp
Publisher: Doubleday
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1968


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