Betty Smith

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Virgilia Peterson

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

["Joy in the Morning"] is the story of the first year in the marriage of a pair very much in love—a subject with incontrovertible appeal—but it is nowhere near as appealing as Miss Smith's first book.

An air of familiarity, of the déjà vu, pervades the story. Already, in the opening scene, the sense of expectancy so necessary to engage the reader is dulled by an intimation of what to expect….

"Joy in the Morning" is, if not in American life, then most assuredly in contemporary American literature, an anachronism. From start to finish its sentimentality is unalloyed. The little couple is touching enough and their ups and downs are universal. But you forget all about them the moment the book ends—just as you forget, when you emerge from a movie, the false light of the silver screen in the uncompromising reality outside.

Virgilia Peterson, "Love Conquers All in 1927," in The New York Times Book Review (© 1963 by The New York Times Company; reprinted by permission), August 18, 1963, p. 5.