MAGGOT by Mary Alexander Walker


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This starts from the girl's viewpoint as she ducks into a public restroom in terror. She is being followed by a big black woman. When the woman enters, the girl tears off a faucet and throws it at her. Thus they meet, and name each other Maggot and Elephant. Josh, who works in an animal shelter nearby, tends the woman's wounds and becomes the third member of the Sunday card-playing trio we are then asked to follow. But all the rest is seen from a distance. Maggot, the waiflike girl, is seen dancing in the streets with street musicians, haunting the dance studio where she loses herself in solitary, middle-of-the-night performances, choreographing for Elephant's younger sister Ruthie May (concern from whom had set Elephant after Maggot in the first place), and avoiding her home--which turns out to be full of servants but void of parents, they being off on one of their endless safaris. Maggot, it turns out, is a poor little neglected rich girl, starved for love. When she gets sick, she asks for Elephant to tend her. Josh disappears (draft dodging), then reappears. He declares his love for Maggot and they kiss, though their earlier behavior hasn't suggested any such romantic feeling. The attempt apparently is to bring together three unlikely characters who achieve heart-warming community and individual self-discovery. But they are all puppets, crudely conceived and operated by remote control.

Pub Date: Sept. 10th, 1980
Publisher: Atheneum