Norma Fox Mazer Pamela D. Pollack - Essay

Pamela D. Pollack

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

["Dear Bill, Remember Me?" and Other Stories contains eight] stories that turn on small moments of defiance or determination. Mazer is at her best dissecting all-female families—in "Peter in the Park," an intense tale of breaking out of maternal bondage, or in the splendidly ironic "Guess Whose Loving Hands," in which an uncosmeticized cancer victim is cheated of an honest acknowledgement of her impending death by her ministering mother and sister. The women are drawn with every nuance and even a smothering mother is not without sympathy. Unfortunately, the men have a limited range, tending to be jellyfish, skunks, or dark horses, e.g., the men in "Chocolate Pudding" are spineless wino Dad and a reverse snob who's turned on by the heroine's poverty; "Mimi the Fish" is menaced by her beefy butcher father and romanced by a dreamboat who is as much an unknown quantity to her as to readers. Death, alcoholism, divorce are unremarkable facts of life in these stories which defy the self-help problem-solution mold and, though boy-girl interest is always there, are anything but romantic confessionals. Quiet and unaffected, these are fiercely felt renderings of misplaced love and search for selfhood.

Pamela D. Pollack, in her review of "Dear Bill, Remember Me? and Other Stories," in School Library Journal (reprinted from the October, 1976 issue of School Library Journal, published by R. R. Bowker Co./A Xerox Corporation; copyright © 1976), Vol. 23, No. 2, October, 1976, p. 119.