Jane Manthorne

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Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 134

Only gradually does [Bonham in "Mystery of the Fat Cat" paint his] characters brown or the color of dark rosewood, revealing them as blacks or "beans" (Mexican-Americans). They emerge as realistic guys of the ghetto, ready in their boredom to shoot out street lights or roll winos. Their humor, a...

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Only gradually does [Bonham in "Mystery of the Fat Cat" paint his] characters brown or the color of dark rosewood, revealing them as blacks or "beans" (Mexican-Americans). They emerge as realistic guys of the ghetto, ready in their boredom to shoot out street lights or roll winos. Their humor, a jaunty cynicism born of poverty, rings true: the cockroaches, they claim, stand in line at the snack bar; the rats are so fierce that they storm the gym wearing green berets. Particularly in his handling of encounters between citizens and cops and of alert boys with a mentally retarded youngster, Bonham shows slum people the way they are, with honest pragmatism and tough vitality. (p. 24)

Jane Manthorne, in The New York Times Book Review (© 1968 by The New York Times Company; reprinted by permission), August 25, 1968.

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