When Junie Moon, Warren, and Arthur decide to set up housekeeping together after being released from the hospital, it is because no one else wants them. This arrangement of convenience soon becomes a strong, three-way emotional reliance, however, when the three “freaks” move into a ramshackle house on the edge of town. Marjorie Kellogg’s short but richly textured first novel chronicles their brief life together as a trio of outcasts united against a cold and unaccepting world.
All three main characters are profoundly and permanently disabled. Junie Moon has had acid poured over her face and hands by a sexually disturbed assailant, leaving her hideously disfigured. Warren, a paraplegic confined to a wheelchair, has been unable to walk since being shot during a hunting trip in his adolescence. Only Arthur, though, faces the prospect of impending death. His terminal disease, which has baffled the countless doctors who have tried to diagnose it, makes it difficult for him to control his movements. His spasms are getting more severe, his seizures more frequent as the novel opens.
Approximately one-third of the novel takes place in the hospital where the three meet. Along with Minnie, Junie Moon’s terminally ill roommate, they provide the only color in the hospital’s bleak and depressing landscape. The patients’ lives are punctuated only by medicine calls from the authoritarian head nurse, Miss Oxford, and by Grand Rounds, a comic ritual during which overbearing doctors and sycophantic interns poke and prod the patients, asking predictable questions but never waiting for answers.
Only Binnie Farber, their sympathetic social worker, takes their communal living proposal seriously. The three seem unlikely housemates: They bicker constantly, the only thing they have in common being...
(The entire section is 744 words.)