Lois Duncan (Steinmetz Arquette)

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Leigh Dean

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Avid readers of Duncan's YA novels who are accustomed to unconventional characters, and situations steeped in danger, magic, and intrigue will be hard-pressed to recognize or to relate to the Duncan found in the pages of [Chapters: My Growth As a Writer]. For the person we meet in her published short stories (circa 1949–62), poems, and the connective autobiographical narrative is as conventional, predictable, and comfortably dull as baked beans and apple pie. True, Lois Duncan was a most intuitive and precocious writer, but there is not a glimmer of the person and author she has become. So great is the split between her early "chapters" and her present novels that I think this book may serve to alienate rather than to enlighten and win her new fans. For those who persevere, scattered along the way are some fine kernels of practical advice to hopeful authors.

Leigh Dean, in her review of "Chapters: My Growth As a Writer," in Children's Book Review Service (copyright © 1982 Children's Book Review Service, Inc.), Vol. 10, No. 12, Spring, 1982, p. 116.

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