Kirkus Star


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I liked this tremendously. I had a sense -- while reading it -- of living with the people and the circumstances, of experiencing the sense of frustration at not quite knowing what some things meant, of gradually feeling that some of what seemed closed doors were, in another sense, doors opened to individual interpretation and understanding. It is a story of today -- of the kind of people we all know, the kinds of experience many of us face. She attempts no solution, leaves a lot to the reader, and at times makes it a little difficult to take the hurdle of a rather oblique style. A story of an American family; -- Frances -- ""Judd Rankin's daughter"" -- impetuous, ardent, the sort of person it would be fun to know and sometimes difficult to live with; her husband, a critic and liberal, living his ideals in a pretty much down-to-earth fashion; their two children, the son battling against a difficult and stubborn case of shell shock which has turned him against the family and what they stand for, the daughter, chip off the mother's block, and a grand girl just emerging from adolescence; Judd Renkin himself, Iowa farmer-editor, a sort of William Allen White character, who has belatedly realized that he isn't the isolationist he thought he was -- but just stopped doing anything about it, and wrote his biography of a way of life instead; and Aunt Adah -- off stage, but very important in acting as a catalyst for successful people in the story, Aunt Adah who was a vivid and exciting person even in her old age. The story is less a story of action than of living -- of facing the war, and what it does to people, of points of view in conflict -- isolationism, innate fascism, anti-semitism, the idealistic against the materialistic, and so on. The people seem real, and not too definitely black and white. One feels -- on closing the book -- that this is a story that has perspective quite surprising when written so close to events.

Pub Date: Oct. 24th, 1945
Publisher: Lippincott