SIDE STREET by Nathaniel Benehley


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These sketches of two families living in adjoining brownstone houses on a street in New York's Bast '60's have had New Yorker appearance and combine to make a gay, human picture of domestic --and local -- incidents. The Allens buy the two houses, remodel one for themselves, rent the other to the Beldens, who, if at first strangers, turn out to have the same language and ideas of humor. They find that their semi-community living is convivial, if sometimes overflowing with minor hells. For the street, the tradesman and their backyard neighbors are all too intrigued by their family activities. Allen's fall from a low balcony brings a wave of concern; there is a house -- and a swimming pool -- they crest for their children; a picnic to out-horror all picnics; a troublesome eight year old's eviction is the cause of soul-searching; the death of young Harry's dog, the burglary of one of their neighbors, the marriage of a maid, assorted presents for their wives, getting a friend moved into a new apartment -- all wind up in a Christmas tree trimming party that is a fine finish to their doings. Delightful, with some unobtrusively serious overtones, this is pleasing pickup reading in literate terms. Meet the Allens and the Beldens...

Pub Date: Feb. 24th, 1950
Publisher: Harcourt, Brace