MRS. WILSON WANDERS OFF by Nancy Winslow Parker


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In these days of mothers suddenly taking off (or so it might seem to their offspring), either daily to a job or, occasionally, for good, domestic Mrs. Wilson's abrupt departure, in response to an urgent buzzing in her head, won't seem all that fantastic--even though the truck driver who picks her up is a hurried rabbit (""I thought you'd never come. Get in back with the others"") and her fellow passengers include a frog in doublet-and-hose and a satin-shifted terrier. They're all on their way to a mysterious ""Annual,"" which turns out to be a gathering where each takes a turn performing and poor Mrs. Wilson, when called on for an act, can only tell ""my story"": of unrealized longing and failed attempts to sing, dance, and act, with success achieved only as an audience. At this point, though, pure wish fulfillment takes over, and the drab housewife is momentarily transformed into a spangled, electrifying, applauded wild dancer. There's more, but not for Mrs. W., who returns home alone and is never again called to an Annual, though her children grow up to fulfill her dreams. This is more ambitious than Parker's droll little Man with the Take-Apart Head (1974), and the same sense of whimsy comes through despite the echoes of another Wonderland. (There's even a duchess.) But the heroine's moment of glory seems too drastic--and too isolated--a departure, and the meaning of her return comes uncomfortably close to ""they (mothers?) also serve"" to fit our notions of an enlarging daydream.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1976
Publisher: Dodd, Mead