Nat(han Irving) Hentoff Jack Forman - Essay

Jack Forman

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

In the Country of Ourselves [like Jazz Country and I'm Really Dragged But Nothing Gets Me Down is] about being in high school today, but it displays even more of an awareness of the complexities of this situation than did the two earlier novels. Here, mutually suspicious black and white radical students, with the aid of a concerned teacher and an apparent New Left sympathizer in the local police force, attempt to disrupt order in the high school they attend. Opposing them is a stubborn, authoritarian, yet concerned and dedicated principal. Unfortunately, some of the episodes are a bit strained, and the responses of the characters are occasionally overdrawn in an attempt to make the philosophies they espouse clear. Nevertheless, most of the kids behave believably—and, thankfully, not always predictably—and the book is very wittily written. All in all, it's one of the fairest and most entertaining titles available about politically aware young teens today.

Jack Forman, in his review of "In the Country of Ourselves," in School Library Journal, an appendix to Library Journal (reprinted from the December, 1971 issue of School Library Journal, published by R. R. Bowker Co./A Xerox Corporation; copyright © 1971), Vol. 18, No. 4, December, 1971, p. 64.