NABBY ADAMS' DIARY by Miriam Anne Bourne


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Like Nelly Custis' Diary (KR, 1974) this is very much of a conscious construct and it's easy to see that a considerable amount of research has gone into large and small details--from the comings and goings of the numerous Adams family to the amusing story of a socially ambitious Bostonian who served his French guests a soup with whole frogs floating in it. And surely Nabby's short diary entries will be most amusing to those who have someone on hand to explain its offhand references to whirlygigs, perukes, syllabubs, ""the thread for tambour,"" and Dr. Warren's beheading. There are events in Nabby's life that need no explanation--cousin Patty dying ""putrid from the dysentery""; Nabby herself covered with ""smallpox pussels as large as great green peas"" after she undergoes an early form of imoculation; her dissatisfaction with her inferior education (""I pass my years in a contracted sphere while my brothers explore the world""); her interest in the ""melancholy"" Mr. Tyler whom Papa Adams finds unworthy. Mostly however, Nabby is a mouthpiece for news from the battlefront and Papa's travels. Many readers will find her two or three line news bulletins dull, and certainly her prim cliches themselves don't command attention--""There is romance in the air,"" ""The woods are a blaze of color,"" etc. Nabby will be most attractive to those who see her made-up journal as an exercise in historical detection; it is after all an ambitious version of the school project lots of children enjoy concocting themselves.

Pub Date: May 21st, 1975
Page count: 128pp
Publisher: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan