Bette Greene Jack Forman - Essay

Jack Forman

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

[Morning Is a Long Time Coming, an] autobiographical novel set four years after the author's The Summer of My German Soldier …, opens in the same small Arkansas town. Still alienated from her father, mother, and grandparents, Patty Bergen graduates from high school, then sets out for Europe instead of going to college. In France, Patty has her first love affair with a young teacher, Roger, but feels torn between him and her need to find the parents of the German POW she once unsuccessfully hid (recorded in Greene's first novel). Wracked by a bleeding ulcer brought on by the tensions with her family and her lover, she finally leaves Roger to go to Göttingen, Germany in search of the POW's family…. Having come to terms with her anxieties, she returns to France for a rapproachment with Roger. Green's portrayal of a Southern Jewish family in the 1940s is strong and honest, but the depiction of Patty's relationship with Roger is strangely forced and detached. Despite this central flaw, however, the novel will attract teens because of its sensitive treatment of the loosening of familial bonds.

Jack Forman, in a review of "Morning Is a Long Time Coming," in School Library Journal, Vol. 24, No. 8, April, 1978, p. 93.