Mary Stolz Jane Cobb - Essay

Jane Cobb

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

There are several good things to be said for Mary Stolz's "Truth and Consequence." The characters are believable and the situations in which they find themselves are convincing. The dialogue is excellent. The flaw in the book is its completely unrelieved glumness. In the entire narrative there is scarcely a shred of hope or humor.

Most of the action takes place in a suburban town where 13-year-old Gerry has been taken to stay with her Aunt Proud….

[Some] pieces in the pattern of misery include a wife who doesn't like her husband and has a lover she can never marry and, of course, Gerry's agonized parents. Miss Stolz has also included a mildly demented woman called Cassandra, who has been waiting for five years for her dead husband to come home, and an embittered colored woman whose little boy was born with no legs.

This all sounds too dismal to be true, and it is greatly to Miss Stolz's credit that she has made it as believable and interesting as she has. She has talent, and this reader hopes that in her next book she will cheer up a little.

Jane Cobb, "Catalogue of Despairs," in The New York Times Book Review (© 1953 by The New York Times Company; reprinted by permission), August 30, 1953, p. 15.