WISDOM TO KNOW by Regina J. Woody


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More tract than fiction, this is an up-to-the-minute report on ideal state mental hospital programs, the many volunteer services cooperating to help, and the goals of Alcoholics Anonymous. Karen is a recognizable heroine for teenage fiction: dependable, solemn and peachily idealistic. Joannie, her best friend, is twice driven to mental breakdowns. Her mother is an alcoholic who rejects help. Her father stays away from home because, as a reformed drunk involved with Alcoholics Anonymous, his wife is always taunting him off the wagon. Karen's Red Cross work takes her to desk duty at the local mental hospital. Karen's aunt has been there for years, ignored by Karen's horrified mother. Steve is Karen's boyfriend. He is a star athlete who does poorly at his studies in a Phi Beta Kappa family. Karen has her hands full understanding Joannie, leading her mother to accept the aunt's mental illness and hanging on to Steve while helping him with his homework. In this best of all possible worlds, there are a half dozen happy endings: Joannie gets better; her mother joins A. A., her father comes home; Karen's mother goes to see her nearly cured sister; Steve gets adjusted to less than an astronaut's career; and Karen gets Steve. This too heavy a load for unconfined formula fiction to bear. Some real problems unrealistically maneuvered in a busy, overpeopled plot.

Pub Date: April 24th, 1964
Publisher: Funk & Wagnalls