Kin Platt Kirkus Service - Essay

Kirkus Service

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Kin Platt's Sinbad and Me was a real spine-tingler but there's no mystery about [the protagonist of The Boy Who Could Make Himself Disappear]: he's a schizophrenic. In a combination of flashback, stream of consciousness and almost equally interior narrative, Roger reacts to his parents' abrupt divorce, to the tempo and impersonality of New York, and especially … constantly … to his inability to pronounce the letter r. As a small child he burned his tongue on a styptic pencil; thanks to a singularly monstrous set of parents, the impediment has mushroomed until the simplest conversation is agony. A few people reach him: the impetuous model in the penthouse and her boyfriend, who learned endurance in the Resistance; a girl who's crippled but not cramped; his current speech therapist, a solid, forthright, feeling woman. It is the latter who holds on when Roger withdraws into an infantile autistic state and the Frenchman who may lead him out. Obviously this is not child's play; neither is it good psychology—Roger's parents are too brutal, his benefactors too heroic. And as an approximation of adult fiction, it's not sufficiently well structured or written to be worth recommending.

A review of "The Boy Who Could Make Himself Disappear," in Kirkus Service (copyright © 1968 The Kirkus Service, Inc.), Vol. XXXVI, No. 10, May 15, 1968, p. 556.