Jean Strouse

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Last Updated on May 7, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 148

Maynard has a fine ear for idiom, but she constantly undermines the poignancy and humor of ["Baby Love"] with the condescension of her fake-dumb tone….

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Beneath this condescending tone lies the smug assumption of a superior "we" that I don't want any part of. "We" know—about the Unicorn Tapestries, the Oedipus complex, anorexia, Hemingway—all the "smart" things these characters dimly refer to. So what? "We" don't learn anything new from all this skewering—just that nobody's happy, everybody dreams of something better and the tacky stuff of modern dreams is shaped by Dolly Parton, "Dallas" and Kodak ads. Clever as it is, the novel calls more attention to the author than to her characters. In a better book it would be the other way around.

Jean Strouse, "Baby Talk," in Newsweek (copyright 1981, by Newsweek, Inc., all rights reserved; reprinted by permission), Vol. XCVIII, No. 8, August 24, 1981, p. 70.

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