Rosa Guy Miles M. Jackson - Essay

Miles M. Jackson

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

[Bird At My Window] is about ghetto life in Harlem and the relationship between young Wade Williams and members of his family. Wade, sensitive and intelligent, has very little choice in his life because of a domineering mother who places on him the responsibilities normally reserved for the father of a family. But there is no father in the Williams family and very little money. As a youth, Wade encounters all of the harshness of Harlem and an overseas tour of duty with the Army leaves him as a disillusioned misanthrope…. What happens to Wade Williams in Harlem is a story we should all be familiar with by now. The devastating effects of life in Harlem as a subject in fiction runs the risk of becoming overworked, perhaps to some it has already been overworked and by now tiring. But to this reviewer there is always room for another well-written novel that uses ghetto life in Harlem as a subject. At times this work comes off very well, especially those sections showing the conflicts between mother and son; but all in all, this is a borderline novel. There are too many parts in the book that smack of the sociological treatise.

Miles M. Jackson, in his review of "Bird at My Window," in Library Journal (reprinted from Library Journal, February 1, 1966; published by R. R. Bowker Co. (a Xerox company); copyright © 1966 by Xerox Corporation), Vol. 91, No. 3, February 1, 1966, pp. 713-14.