Julia W(oolfolk) Cunningham Barbara Wersba

Start Your Free Trial

Barbara Wersba

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Download Julia W(oolfolk) Cunningham Study Guide

Subscribe Now

[In the world of children's literature Miss Cunningham is] an original. She [writes] with unabashed romanticism and her prose [has] an edge of steel. She [has] a charming sense of humor beneath which [lurks] despair. Most of all, she [is] able to write about childhood as though she had never left it.

["Come to the Edge"] deals with fear—and will therefore be meaningful to many children….

What Miss Cunningham has created—despite a few Gothic twists—is a parable about love and man's inability to accept it in the face of his own unworthiness. The fact that Gravel [the protagonist] does eventually learn to love and be loved, makes a moving ending; but even if the resolution had been different, I would have been shaken by this story. Miss Cunningham tells the truth about life and tells it in ways that are completely her own. In other words, she is an artist. (p. 21)

Barbara Wersba, in The New York Times Book Review (© 1977 by The New York Times Company; reprinted by permission), July 10, 1977.