Honor Arundel Judith Aldridge - Essay

Judith Aldridge

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Honor Arundel presented Jan Meredith in The Terrible Temptation as an intelligent, entirely selfish but honest, university student who dreaded involvement and feared love, the blanket word which covers so many emotions. In [The Blanket Word], still at university, Jan is summoned home to join the rest of her family during her mother's terminal illness. (p. 110)

The plot is slight but the book makes absorbing reading. The first person narrative is taut and vigorous, the conversations ring true, and the presentation of emotions together with Jan's analyses of her feelings are acute. There is a welcome thread of humour too, in dialogue and in the characters of Jan herself and her steadiest friend, Thomas, which saves the book from any moral heaviness. It is well-structured: the two family crises, one at either end of the book, marking Jan's development without artificiality. The contrasting worlds of village and university are made real to the reader. While contemporary in setting, the concerns of the book are of perennial interest and it should provide attractive and thought-provoking reading for any teenager. (p. 111)

Judith Aldridge, "Fiction: 'The Blanket Word'," in Children's Book Review (© 1973 Five Owls Press Ltd.; all rights reserved), Vol. III, No. 4, September, 1973, pp. 110-11.