Friday, January 30, 2009

Beth Donnis, Speech Therapist

Kathlyn Gay, il. (cover only) Jon Nielsen
1968, Julian Messner
A Career Romance For Young Moderns

Beth Donnis struggles through her first year teaching children with speech handicaps in California. Her students - angry little Beth, shy Chuck and resistant Sayre - and fellow teachers create challenges she's not sure she can surmount, particularly when her guardian, Aunt Martha, faces financial devastation at the hands of Chuck's vindictive father.

You're such a wispy bit of a thing.
Beth's cute, she's vivacious, she's all that and a carton of cupcakes. When she's preoccupied, she tugs on her bangs. When she's bullied by the bad-tempered Hal Jamieson, she flushes and fights and wonders why she's so excited to see him. Despite the excellent vocabulary and smooth writing style, the heroine's perfection and the hero's unremarked flaws make it frustrating to read.

Two things do make it a little more bearable. First, Beth's perfection cracks when dealing with her students, who can be more than she can deal with at times. Second, a truly unnerving scene where Beth comes across an odd group of people on a lonely beach:

She forced her feet to move forward and caught sight of several strangely garbed figures. Two of them held hammers with sharp picks at the opposite edges. They looked macabre in the shadows as they stooped over something on the sand and murmured among themselves.

Also, it's been a long time since I read a book where a real estate agent and developer was the hero. This 1968 was a long time ago.

The speech therapy info sounds good, and this was undoubtedly the primary cause of the book - a career, a romance and a reassurance that cute girls can find meaningful work too!

Other books
Girl Pilot