THE SPIDER PLANT by Yetta Speevack
Kirkus Star


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Of particular interest to girls and true to big city life. Carmen Santos came to New York from rural Puerto Rico. Her adjustment to the city is therefore a little more difficult than it would be for any small town girl coming to New York. The fact that she is Puerto Rican and speaks Spanish are small factors that can engage any reader's sense of separateness, so that reader identification outside the special group need not be a problem. Just as all the sociologists' surveys show, the Puerto Ricans are the fastest assimilators to come to our shores, and Carmen is soon taking part in all the activities of her neighborhood age group. When urban renewal picked her overcrowded old building to come down, Carmen believed that all her happiness would come down with it. She had identified all her contentment with the building, her school, her friends. The new apartment was a long distance away, the people did not seem as friendly, and once again everything was unfamiliar. Carmen's spider plant, raised from a slip, becomes both the symbol and the active agent of Carmen's ability to accept change. Her urge to cling to the familiar and suspect the unknown is well captured here and so are the particular discomforts of being poor in a big city. That this need not mean desperation or squalor is also well handled.

Pub Date: March 23rd, 1965
Publisher: Atheneum