Maureen Daly Edith H. Walton - Essay

Edith H. Walton

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Lyrically young and breathless, "Seventeenth Summer" deals with one of the oldest themes in the world, the theme of first love, and deals with it in a fashion which is so unhackneyed and so fresh that one forgets how often the same story has been told before….

Prosaically and less sensitively handled, "Seventeenth Summer" might seem rather trite, its plot both thin and shopworn. Actually, by a kind of miracle, and perhaps because she is so close to an experience not easy to recapture, Miss Daly has made an utterly enchanting book out of this very fragile little story—one which rings true and sweet and fresh and sound. Nor, for all its charm, is her novel sentimental…. "Seventeenth Summer" is possessed of considerable humor and a kind of sturdy common sense. Not even in its most lyric moments is it saccharine. Completely up to date in its idiom and its atmosphere, vividly authentic in a warm and homely way, it seems to me to be as unpretentiously good a first novel as any one could ask—limited as is its scope. Simply, eloquently, Maureen Daly tells one how youth in love really feels—how it felt yesterday and how it feels today.

Edith H. Walton, "Fiction: 'Seventeenth Summer'," in The New York Times Book Review (© 1942 by The New York Times Company; reprinted by permission), May 3, 1942, p. 7.