Gunnel Beckman Kirkus Reviews - Essay

Kirkus Reviews

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

The solitude of Mia Alone … ends fortuitously [in That Early Spring] when Gram comes from the old age home to share the lonely apartment Mia and her Dad have inhabited since Mother and sister Lillian moved to the country. Gram's reminiscences of a time when her husband was also her legal guardian and her confession that "the last time I slept with your grandfather, he was 72" are the foundation of an affectionate solidarity, unlike any Mia has shared with her reserved, preoccupied parents. Yet Gram's confidences also make Mia uncomfortably aware of the gulf between the earnest discussions of sex roles in her school study group and her passive, romantic crush on Martin, an "older" man of 21 who introduces her to liberated sex. Mia eventually summons the courage to announce to Martin that "freedom isn't just for men … I don't want to be a sex machine."… Mia's equation of personal and societal ills and the schoolgirl seriousness with which she attacks both simultaneously may be peculiarly Scandinavian, yet the characters of Gram (a major presence here and never merely a colorful oldster) and of Martin, the likably ingenuous sexist, have dimensions that go beyond the issues they represent.

A review of "That Early Spring," in Kirkus Reviews (copyright © 1977 The Kirkus Service, Inc.), Vol. XLV, No. 3, February 1, 1977, p. 97.