ANSWER AS A MAN by Taylor Caldwell
Kirkus Star


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Although there's no dearth here of Caldwell's portable sermonettes on such evils as soft living, this turn-of-the-century Pennsylvania tale of rags-to-riches and love tangles has the ease and zip of the author's earlier period. The hero and true M-A-N of the title is Jason Garrity, only approved kin of his grandfather, Bernard. Bernard is another true M-A-N, plumping for solid male strength and putting a fist in the face of the flabby, whining, slimy world. As for wimmin: ""they should niver have the rearing of men children."" So Jason has enough gumption to survive childhood and youth in a shantytown house with his widowed mother, his fatuously religious brother John, his dazzlingly beautiful, crippled, vindictive sister Joan; and then, through shrewd business sense and hard work, he begins to stake out his territory, profit-wise. Eventually he'll even be manager of a Pocono summer hotel, the Ipswich House, and he'll use his inheritance of some land to demand shares in the business. But Jason flunks the mating test, marrying whiny, snobbish, slightly stupid Patricia Mulligan by whom he has (he thinks) three children: son Sebastian is really the offspring of wily, charming chum Lionel Nolan. Then Lionel marries Joan; and Molly, the spirited, sensible girl Jason should have married, marries agreeable lawyer Daniel Dugan, nephew of Jason's genial father-in-law Pat. So it takes some years of domestic and fiscal turmoil before Molly and Jason at last entwine hearts: Patricia drinks and is exceedingly nasty to Sebastian, whom she hates; a local madam and a slicker named Chauncey (aided by ""friend"" Lionel) attempt to squeeze Jason out of Ipswich House and another choice hotel venture; Jason pursues youthful criminals (""Jason felt the atavistic male lust to. . . murder""); and he politicks against the US entry into World War I. Finally Patricia and Daniel conveniently expire, and there's a happy fade-out. Still the old Rand-wagon, but less preachment than usual and more gossipy goin's on--so the always-solid-selling Caldwell should really climb the charts with this one.

Pub Date: Jan. 12th, 1980
Publisher: Putnam