ANYTHING FOR A FRIEND by Russell Davis

ANYTHING FOR A FRIEND

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Clarence Bascomb, who sounds like Holden Caufield -- thinking and acting like obie Gillis, was last heard from in the memorable I Love You Mary Fatt. (1960 p. 910) He is promised the ""ultimate reward"" by Arabella Jablonski for agreeing to take Sally, she only Negro girl in his class, to the never before ""integrated"" h.s. prom. Sally is goaded into going with him by the thought of an older sister who made headlines as a freedom rider. The prom itself comes off without incident, although Clarence's father loses his job and Sally's parents are nerve-wracked over it. Clarence, who has grown older but not up, is brutally unconcerned by this. Although he starts as Massachusetts' most reluctant integrator, he comes to like and appreciate Sally (to Arabella's horror) but he fails on the level of friendship and Sally learns a bitter lesson that he is barely aware of teaching. Arabella, her foam rubber body untouched by Clarence, goes off on a peace march and Clarence reverts to Mary Fatt. Here are adults, parents and teachers, etched into life by Clarence's acid narration. Here is adult ridicule (with Clarence as instrument) zeroing in on peace and integration, finding it a matter of postures and followers. This is effective and often belly-laugh funny, but Clarence, used as this kind of a platform, is not as appealing as the Clarence of I Love You Mary Fatt.

Pub Date: March 27th, 1963
Publisher: Crown