John Neufeld

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Richard Horchler

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Last Updated on June 7, 2022, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 188

["Edgar Allan"] is a novel about a white family that adopts a Negro child. But it is not a novel about prejudice or race relations or brotherhood, or anything so simple. It is about parents and children, young people, and older people, about love and failure, loss and discovery, coming to terms with oneself and others. In short, "Edgar Allan" is really a novel, a serious work of art, and therefore about what it means to be a human being.

The story is told, quietly and believably, from the point of view of a 12-year-old boy….

What [the failed adoption meant to the family], how they were all changed and wounded, is probed and pondered. Many of the questions raised—about the complexities of motivations, about responsibility, about judging others, about the suffering of the innocent—are not finally answered, because they cannot be. Better than easy answers, "Edgar Allan" offers an experience in the growth of compassion and understanding.

Richard Horchler, "Stories for Ages 9 to 12: 'Edgar Allan'," in The New York Times Book Review, Part II (© 1968 by The New York Times Company; reprinted by permission), November 3, 1968, p. 33.

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