REFLECTIONS ON A TEAPOT by Ronald Sanders

REFLECTIONS ON A TEAPOT

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

A ""cultural history"" via autobiography, by a Flatbush-based member of the generation that matured in the '50's, the generation ""to whom nothing ever happened."" Ronald Sanders was a product of two immigrant parents -- a Liverpudlian father whose career in music peaked with the composition ""I'm a Little Teapot,"" and a Russian-Jewish mother. This teapot/chainik inheritance -- ""cursed with low status and high self-esteem"" -- was Sanders' unique situation, but other external boundaries and divisions offered identity problems. There were the early comic book heroes with their ""will-to-power themes,"" so emphatically pre-Holocaustian; the ""flat tastes, colors and forms"" in cans and cartoons of the '30's which gave hard definition to childhood conceptions. And Sanders remembers an early journey through unknown city neighborhoods, the excitement, the promise and the fulfillment: ""Why couldn't a person cross from one world to another whenever he felt like it?"" Sanders did attempt to cross worlds, a solitary exercise. He reconstructs his tentative careers and flashing enthusiasms in art, music, athletics, then at Kenyon College, belles lettres, ancient languages, later back in New York, medicine, history, and in a culmination of years of search, his ""arrival"" as a Jew. As for the familiar charge of '50's ""apathy"" Sanders accepts this with a convincing demur: ""We were a timid lot. . . filled with the fears and agonies of the Depression."" At his best Sanders writes with a sentient precision, although the long narrative tends to cool and thin with too many crowded details. A difficult objective -- not entirely realized.

Pub Date: June 4th, 1972
Publisher: Harper & Row