Norma Klein Marilyn R. Singer - Essay

Marilyn R. Singer

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Norma Klein has a fund of right ideas on life and is giving them to just the right age group. Pre-teens are concerned about how they will shape their lives, but they rarely find any clues in the fiction written for them. [In Mom, the Wolf Man and Me] they are treated to a commendably honest view of the way some people choose to live. Though the 11-year-old narrator Brett and her friends are always in the foreground, the grown-ups actually dominate the story. This won't offer any identification problems for young readers, however, because for once the adults are as human as the children (Brett's mother in particular); they are still growing, changing, having problems, trying solutions…. [Brett] loves her mother and their free style of life, prefers it to the more conventional homes of her friends, and is only occasionally hassled by society's reactions to it. If anything, the author makes Brett almost too matter of fact, but it's a good antidote to the controversial issues: if the 11-year-old narrator can be so casual about her mother not being married and having intercourse then there's no reason for readers and librarians to get upset. The only other fault that might be found here is the relative lack of action…. Rich characters and dynamic interactions, much humor and warmth are the book's justification. Best of all, the author makes readers aware that their lives will be shaped by the values they have. And it's all done without preaching! (pp. 60-1)

Marilyn R. Singer, in a review of "Mom, the Wolf Man and Me," in School Library Journal, an appendix to Library Journal, Vol. 19, No. 4, December, 1972, pp. 60-1.