Fran Arrick C. Nordhielm Wooldridge - Essay

C. Nordhielm Wooldridge

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

[Stephanie Rudd, the protagonist of Steffie Can't Come Out to Play, runs away] from Clairton, Pennsylvania to pursue a modelling career in New York City. She can hardly believe it when the man of her dreams appears at the train station and slips a protective arm around her shoulder. "Favor" is young, handsome, rich, and one of the slickest pimps in the Big Apple…. While for the most part resisting the temptation to sensationalize, Arrick unfortunately resorts to a superman-type rescue for her protagonist: one of two cops (whose third-person account of the street scene is interspersed with Stephanie's first-person narrative) suddenly shakes off 19 years of remaining uninvolved and breaks Favor's leg in the process of convincing him to let Stephanie go. It works. Stephanie finds herself inexplicably shut out by her "daddy" and "sisters," turns to a shelter which takes in young girls in her situation, and finally goes home. Neither plot, characterization, nor writing style emerge as distinctive in any way and the message to young teens weighs a bit heavy. All told, this is a just-adequate foray into some scantily explored and decidedly rough subject territory.

C. Nordhielm Wooldridge, in a review of "Steffie Can't Come Out to Play," in School Library Journal, Vol. 25, No. 3, November, 1978, p. 72.