Barbara Corcoran Ethel L. Heins - Essay

Ethel L. Heins

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

The themes [in Sasha, My Friend] are not new to children's books: a girl's painful adjustment to wilderness living and a fierce attachment to an unconventional pet. But the author, who lives in Montana by preference, writes with conviction as she tells an absorbing story set against the austere beauty of her adopted state. (pp. 540-41)

Ethel L. Heins, "Early Fall Booklist: 'Sasha, My Friend'," in The Horn Book Magazine (copyright © 1969 by The Horn Book, Inc., Boston), Vol. XLV, No. 5, October, 1969, pp. 540-41.

Laurie's eyes are wide open for a lot of reasons [in The Long Journey]: ever since her parents died when she was three she's had only correspondence courses, National Geographic, boxes of old books, and Grandfather's protective cynicism to teach her about the world. What she knows is the land, well enough to subsist on it…. What she doesn't know about is bathtubs, telephones, revolving doors, cream sauces, fluffy living … and the other 'civilized' appurtenances she encounters when contingencies—like a howling storm and a bullet wound—bring her suspectingly into contact with other ways and awaken some dormant propensities…. Laurie's not an ambiguity: she's just ambivalent—uncertainly steeling herself against what she's been warned against, but experiencing new directions with a guarded interest and rightful pride. Every bit as firm a character as Sam (1967), she marshalls resources to cope with things she hasn't any categories for…. This is no formula melodrama despite pat predictables and the happy compromise that promises the best for Laurie of both worlds: part of its charm is the confluence of opposites that aren't really, and again like Sam it grips and gives on more than one dimension. (pp. 687-88)

"Older Fiction: 'The Long Journey'," in Kirkus Reviews (copyright © 1970 The Kirkus Service, Inc.), Vol. XXXVIII, No. 13, July 1, 1970, pp. 687-88.