STRANGER IN THE PINES by May McNeer

STRANGER IN THE PINES

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KIRKUS REVIEW

If ""'It's only a whoop and a holler to here'"" as the Jersey pine-barrens people say circa 1830, then somebody took the long way around in this ungainly set-piece in which orphaned Adam Quinn, fifteen and a 'runaway bound boy,' finds a future. Grandfather Jervis, the one who unfeelingly apprenticed him to the ironsmith, had made his money in smuggling and slave-trading but withal is respected among the Philadelphia Friends. Although his mother too had been a Quaker, Adam is contemptuous of their hypocrisy, but he can't be choosy about associates while on the lam and falls in with the Willowbys whose daughter Tranquillity teaches him to read. Until he takes off, that is: it seems that he'd not only left his master but also killed him; whenever the constable gets on his track, Adam moves. Suspense would be a sustaining force amidst his belabored adventures (the last lands him happily as aide to a black herb-doctor), if his redemption were not so obviously foreoredained. Stagnant -- except where you can see right through it.

Pub Date: March 30th, 1971
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin