Bette Greene

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Geoff Fox

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Last Updated on June 7, 2022, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 189

[In Morning Is a Long Time Coming], Patty Bergen's awakening sexuality is realized in her love for Roger, a Parisian With him, she finally sloughs off the inhibitions of her upbring in Jenkinsville, Arkansas (population 1, 170). She is 18, and the independence which prompted her defiance in Bette Greene's earlier (and excellent) Summer of my German Soldier is still feared and resented six years later by the community and her mean-spirited parents. Patty's journey from red-necked America to Paris and Roger allows the recognition that the ugly duckling she has always been told she is has become a particularly articulate and perceptive swan. Since Patty is the narrator, the journey is charted with wit and energy.

The lessons she learns reflect concerns—and idioms—of contemporary America: to accept yourself for who you are, to be owned by no-one and yet to learn to receive as well as to give, to deal with the Problem of one's need for a mother. The action of this novel lies within Patty, and she is characterised with subtlety and even tenderness.

Geoff Fox, "Parents and Lovers," in The Times Educational Supplement, No. 3308, November 24, 1978, p. 48.∗

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