Norma Fox Mazer Ann A. Flowers - Essay

Ann A. Flowers

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

In [Dear Bill, Remember Me? and Other Stories] the heroines are all young girls, each passing through a crisis in search of her own particular freedom. A certain similarity among the stories is noticeable; many of the mothers are rather protective and most of the girls are fatherless or have ineffectual or unfeeling fathers. Individually, however, each girl's struggle to reach her goal is realistic in the presentation of the options now open to young people. Zoe in "Peter in the Park" is almost suffocated by the excessive love and understanding of her grandmother, her mother, and her aunt; her mild rebellion in the form of a late-night walk in the park brings her a sense of satisfaction…. Tart and amusing Jessie in "Up on Fong Mountain" strives to be accepted as a person rather than as the appendage of her overbearing boy friend. In "Guess Whose Friendly Hands" eighteen-year-old Louise knows she is dying of cancer and simply wishes her mother and sister to acknowledge it, so that they will all be relieved of the insupportable burden of pretense. And the admirable last story, "Zelzah: A Tale from Long Ago," concerns a quiet and determined immigrant girl who breaks away from the conventional peasant role of wife and mother to become a teacher—alone and by her own efforts. A somewhat uneven, but varied and thought-provoking collection with a theme of timely and universal interest. (pp. 58-9)

Ann A. Flowers, in her review of "Dear Bill, Remember Me? and Other Stories," in The Horn Book Magazine (copyright © 1977 by the Horn Book, Inc., Boston), Vol. LIII, No. 1, February, 1977, pp. 58-9.