CALIFORNIA AND OTHER STATES OF GRACE: A Memoir by Phyllis Theroux

CALIFORNIA AND OTHER STATES OF GRACE: A Memoir

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Attractive, mildly eccentric families, viewed with affection, always have a solid appeal; and this memoir which amusingly, occasionally gravely, follows the author's major turning points, begins and ends with family portraits and bouquets. Mainly the author writes about her father's family in her native California: Grandmother Grissim, who had a stellar ""flair uncluttered by accomplishment""; Father, a jovial wit who could make ""every other father look like Dagwood Bumstead""; five siblings; a passel of cousins; and ""my spiritual home""--Gallwey household (two pairs of aunts and uncles) where all were involved in the Moral Re-Armament Movement, a 1939 precursor of Up With People. Through childhood's ""unreasonably sharp snapshots"" and loving recall, Theroux reviews girlhood crises (""looking to be a saintette""; a movie-star era) and reevaluates her later years of schooling at a Dominican convent, which answered so beautifully her desire for a ""total plan"" for living; a hilarious summer bucking for purity at a MRA retreat; her college years at Manhattanville in New York, where she found she was not ""the center of the universe"" and gratefully gave up the notion of being a nun; an ""out of focus"" summer as a Catholic volunteer in Colorado. Then came marriage, ""the next and last step before I could stand still and begin real life."" The marriage ended in divorce--as did her parents'--but Theroux concludes with tributes to the family roots and binding love. Companionable and crisply energetic.

Pub Date: June 23rd, 1980
Publisher: Morrow