Sunday, November 24, 2013

Trish (1951)

Margaret Maze Craig,
1951, Thomas Y. Crowell

“I wonder,” Pat said suddenly, and the tone of her voice was an odd combination of resentment and wistfulness, “how it would feel to be Connie Hyde.”

High school seniors Patricia Ingram and her best friend Mary Jo Tucker are not popular.  They’re not unpopular – Pat has a lovelorn male neighbor she doesn’t want, and neither girl is an outcast - but they want more.  At least, Pat does.  She’s spent her high school career existing on the fringe of the effortless cool clique run by sleek, poised girls like the famous Connie, and she wants that world.  Mary Jo, slightly wiser, suggests there might be aspects to that world Pat hasn’t considered, but Pat has a big reason to ignore this advice – she’s in love with a boy from that group.

Dick Keating – tall, rugged senior. Stubby, biscuit-brown hair and short, thick eyelashes of the same incredible color. Hazel eyes. Lips a trifle full perhaps, but lips that turned up engagingly at the corners when he smiled.  Very white teeth, just a little crooked.  A casual way of wearing clothes, an easy nonchalance of manner.  Dick Keating – the central figure in all her daydreams, and Connie Hyde’s exclusive property!

A chance meeting draws Dick’s attention to the slightly innocent Pat, and the novelty of a girl who isn’t smooth and jaded keeps his interest.  Astonished, Pat is thrilled to begin dating him.  From the start, though, she’s never sure where she stands with Dick, or how he’s going to fall between his interest in her unsophisticated charms and the allure of the familiar Connie.  Later, she begins to see that his interest in her has awakened something else in him, a possibility that he might not just love her but that he might be able to change into the person she thought he was – a boy with values like her own, rather than a boy from a social group that to Pat seems racy and vulgar. 

And then the book whips around, introduces a college boy with a bad reputation who falls instantly in love with Pat and destroys her relationship with Dick by creating (unwittingly) a situation where it seems they’ve had sex.

The last quarter of the book is jarring, and while the resolution between Pat and her flawed prince was believable, the way the book arrives at that resolution is baffling.  Introducing a major character that late, making their relationship that powerful, and writing out Pat’s friends so quickly were all odd choices. Otherwise, a nicely written teen romance.

About the Author
Margaret Maze Craig (1911-1964)
Craig was born and lived in Pennsylvania.  She was married and had 2 children, and worked as a home economics teacher. 

The dedication reads "For my mother, La Belle Sutton Maze."

Other Books by Author
Julie (1952)
Marsha (1955)
Three Who Met (1958)
Now That I'm Sixteen (1959)
It Could Happen To Anyone (1961)

Other Editions

Monday, October 7, 2013

Still More Of The Best Stories For Girls (1972)

Still More Of The Best Stories For Girls (aka Like It Is)
Ed. N. Gretchen Greiner, il. Jim Conahan; il. Tom Nachreiner (cover)
1972, Golden Press

A fairly low-quality anthology of stories which are clearly intended to be very relevant. 

Good-Bye, Miss Kitty by Jane L. Sears
High-school freshman Karen sets out to rehome her beloved cat when her parents’ impending divorce means moving to an apartment that doesn’t allow pets.  By far the best-written and most poignant of the stories in this anthology, this one still has the same odd, unreal quality of most of the others.

Dog-Sitter by Carl Henry Rathjen
Tena nervously faces down her first pet-sitting appointment as she chews on the bitter argument she’d had with her boyfriend’s father about girls applying to vet school.  The outdated – and somewhat dangerous – advice on dog handling is almost enough to distract from the typical denouement in which the heroine realizes – surprise! – that her crisis is all in her own silly little head.

Fly Free by Carol S. Adler
Clare has retreated into herself after an accident amputated two fingers.  Sent on an extended visit to a friend’s family, she’s drawn into the tense dynamic between the engineer father and his level-headed son who has no aptitude for math.  Well-written and involving.

A Person, After All by Constance Kwolek
Anne reads the obituary of a dull, frumpy teacher , and realizes that the woman’s  life contained parallels to her own.

Two Nice Girls by Frances Gray Patton
Two college girls, one black and one white, have a self-consciously self-congratulatory friendship until one gossipy chat exposes more of each’s background than she’d have liked.

They Don't Make Glass Slippers Anymore by Lael J. Littke
A teenager uses her little brother to get the attention of a handsome boy at the local amusement park.

The Year of the Baby by Carol Madden Adorjan
Only child Lorna is furious and unsettled when her parents announce that her mother is pregnant.

The Summer of Charlie Crip by Suzanne Roberts
Six months after her brother’s death in Vietnam, Karry is listlessly hanging around at the family’s summer cottage.  A rescued baby bird and a cautious new boy bring her back to life.

Debbies Faces Herself by Pauline Smith

 No Boy.  I'm A Girl! by M.J. Amft


N. Gretchen Greiner
A Batch Of The Best (1979)
My Little Book of Cats

Jane L. Sears (1929-2012)
Wrote nurse romances; her mother Ruth McCarthy Sears wrote gothic romances.  

Carl Henry Rathjen (1909-1984)
A prolific writer who contributed to the Trixie Belden series but concentrated on science fiction.

Carol S. Adler (1932-)
Better known as C.S. Adler.  Has written many children's books.

Constance Kwolek (1933-2009)
Published one novel, Loner, and wrote articles and short stories.

Frances Gray Patton (1906-2000)
A short story writer best known for her novel Good Morning, Miss Dove.

Lael J. Littke
Author of over 40 books, including many young adult novels and books aimed at the Mormon market.
Carol Madden Adorjan
A teacher who wrote several books.
Suzanne Roberts
Difficult to determine

Pauline Smith

M.J. Amft
A short story writer.

A cranky boy review of this book (with original cover) and Greiner’s followup A Batch Of The Best.

This seems to have been one of a series of young adult anthologies.  The others were: 
The Best Stories For Girls
More Of The Best Stories For Girls
A Batch Of The Best

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Skating Rink (1969)

The Skating Rink
Mildred Lee, il. Ilse Koehn (cover)
1969, The Seabury Press

One thing stood out, raw and bitter, in his mind: he was his father’s son and doomed to failure, no matter what he undertook.

Tuck Faraday, 15, is a poor country kid in rural southern Georgia.  Alienated by a stammer that’s evoked constant ridicule from family and classmates since he was little, he’s ready to quit school the moment he turns 16.  Then he meets Pete Degley.

“Degley’s the name,” he said.  “Pete Degley.”  His handshake made Tuck feel older than his fifteen years and he liked the feeling.  Pete Degley told Tuck he was going to put a roller-skating rink here beside the highway, confiding in him so naturally that it wasn’t till afterwards, when he thought the whole thing over, that Tuck saw anything unusual about it.

The rink is going up close to Tuck’s bedraggled house, where his bitter father Myron is struggling to keep a chicken farm going and his exhausted stepmother, Ida, labors every winter over a foully smelly and recalcitrant oil stove.  Tuck, staring at this despairing failure every day, is drawn to Pete’s optimism and the sense that his dream, his skating rink, could actually succeed.

Pete has reasons of his own for talking to Tuck.  His young wife, Lily, is a wonderful skater and Pete, with a bum knee and a couple decades on him, wants a young male skater to pair her with, as an exhibition to draw crowds and to give skating lessons.  So he trains the two in secret.

Curiously, as Tuck gains skill and confidence, he also gains insight.  He finds compassion for his teasing little sister Karen, loutish brothers Clete and Tom, and even his parents. 

About the Author
Mildred Lee Scudder was born a Baptist minister’s daughter in Alabama and spent her childhood travelling around the rural south, a region that appears in most of her books.  She worked as a librarian at the University of Alabama, and married James Scudder in 1947.   It also appears that she had married Edward Schimpff in 1929, and had 2 children. 

Other Books
The Invisible Sun (1946)
The Rock and The Willow (1963)
Honor Sands (1966)
Fog (1972)
Sycamore Year (1974)
The People Therein (1980)
The Bride Of the Lamb

UA list of Alabama authors

Other Editions:

Interesting, the metamorphasis from the first edition to the paperbacks.  Tuck seems to go from being a kid to being a big teen to being John Travolta.