Sally Benson E.F.M. - Essay


(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

[A] lively sense of humor is the pervading quality of [Sally Benson's] method of setting [the characters of "Meet Me in St. Louis"] down in print. She has an unmistakable affection for the members of the Smith household … but she also is amused by them. And the reader comes to share her feelings….

The book covers a year, divided into episodes according to months, in the last half of 1903 and the first of 1904, about the time of the St. Louis World's Fair.

Her stories are slender in narrative but rich in descriptive detail. She is concerned with the incidents of daily domestic life as they might have occurred in a family about the turn of the century. But she is concerned with them not so much for their value as ingredients of plot as for the entertaining light they throw on her characters and on the period. She weaves them together so skillfully, too, that a reader scarcely observes how slight the stories are. She has a knack of recalling half-forgotten childish characteristics…. She is better in her descriptions of the feminine than of the masculine members of the household….

There may not be anything of great importance in … [these adventures] but they do paint a lively picture of an era.

E.F.M., "Family Album Opened," in The Christian Science Monitor (reprinted by permission from The Christian Science Monitor; © 1942 The Christian Science Publishing Society; all rights reserved), July 11, 1942, p. 10.