(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

If the tone of Willa Cather seems a bit flat at times, it is because Brown and Crone have sought consistently to withhold their passion for Cather and let readers judge for themselves. This objective portrayal of a remarkable writer is the book’s strongest point and one that will encourage young readers to form their own opinions of Cather.

It should be noted, however, that a sympathy for Cather is clearly evident throughout the book. It is perhaps inevitable that two women writers should feel strongly and positively about a fellow author, especially one who broke ground in publishing so fearlessly. Brown and Crone demonstrate to teenage readers through Willa Cather the trials that must be endured to achieve a desired goal. As a young reporter in Pittsburgh, Cather had to bicycle to work, rain or shine. As a recognized author, later in life, she and Lewis once were lost for the better part of a day and night in a canyon outside Mesa Verde, Colorado. Both incidents only served to strengthen Cather’s intellectual resolve.

The authors emphasize Cather’s determination to surmount, or even ignore, the odds facing her. Her courage and ability to question others were qualities that evidenced themselves in Cather’s childhood and grew to stand the reporter in good stead during her early years in Pittsburgh and New York City. Because of her ability to ferret out information and write accurate portrayals of celebrities, magazine...

(The entire section is 528 words.)