MRS. STARLING'S PROBLEM by Pearl S. Buck

MRS. STARLING'S PROBLEM

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Despite me title tills slight, grandmotherly story (Miss Buck made it up for one of her grandsons) relies more on the domestic appeal of the anthropomorphized starlings than on the posing and solving of one problem. Mrs. Staffing is first seen squabbling with her husband over the site of their first nest (she wins, and makes it in a hole in the eaves of a house), and after she hatches her eggs she is burdened with caring for the babies herself, as Mr. S. tires of fathering ""five hungry little birds who squawked all the time"" and simply stops coming home. The major problem though occurs when Mrs. S. gets so fat that she can no longer get into the nest to feed the babies, who are only saved from starvation when a little girl named Debbie hears them crying and calls her Daddy to make the hole bigger. Whereupon Mrs. S. woos back her errant husband with sweet endearments. (""She really felt like losing her temper with him for being away so long, but she decided that since she needed his help she had better be nice""). If Mrs. S's concerns are far from compelling to start with, she is made even less of a heroine by the Debbie-ex machina-solution -- and that conciliatory feminine syrup with which she expediently retrieves her mate only confirms the suspicion that she isn't worth getting to know.

Pub Date: Nov. 12th, 1973
Publisher: John Day