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Edited by Christina Burridge. Vancouver. William Hoffer/Tanks. 1987. 205pp, paper, $25.00, ISBN 0-919758-33-9. Distributed by William Hoffer, 60 Powell Street, Vancouver, B.C. V6A 1E7.

Grades 8 and up
Reviewed by Irene J. Karasick

Volume 17 Number 1
1989 January

Who is Elizabeth Smart? Who is the woman who wrote stories and books with such titles as By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept (Deneau. 1982) and The Assumption of the Rogues and Rascals (New York: Granada, 1980). You have the opportunity to get to know her through an implied autobiography compiled by her friends from a mass of letters, diaries and scrap-books found in Smart's cottage.

This book is an excellent record of the life of Elizabeth Smart, compiled intelligently in a logical sequence with sensitivity to the writer and the woman. Smart's life is revealed by the editor's careful chronological arrangement of the author's entries in her pocket diaries, Journals and letters. The entries in the diaries are brief daily notations made by Smart of her activities, feelings and thoughts. Brief as these notations are, they reveal the intrinsic nature of the writer.

Many of the letters included are to her lover George Barker, by whom she had four children. Some of the letters are playful, humorous, childlike and charming. The more serious ones are long and philosophical. All give pertinent insights into the many dimensions of Smart's personal and professional me.

Many adults who read this book will identify with the woman writer living in the first half of the twentieth century. Younger people will respond to the woman destined to be her own person, freeing herself from the ingrained influences of her maternal upbringing and defying the conventions of the times.

Irene J. Karasick, Winnipeg, Man.
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