Mary Marie Joins Smiles and Sense

Mary Marie is a sweet and funny novel about divorce written from the perspective of Illustration from Mary Mariea precocious 1920’s teen.

Mary Marie, 13, is excited that her parents are divorcing on grounds of incompatability. She is to live six months a year in Boston with her mother, whom she adores, and who calls her Marie. The other six she’s to live with her father, an astronomer and college president to whom the daughter he calls Mary is, in her words, “nothing but a daughter by order of the court.”

Mary Marie watches to see which of the men who buzz around her mother is most likely to become Mary Marie’s second father. She realizes that her mother is not seriously interested in any of them.

Her first summer in Andersonville, Mary Marie’s father takes an intermittent interest in her, asking enough about her life in Boston and siding with her wish for fun to make the girl wish for a closer relationship with him.

Mrs. Anderson,wrongly, blames herself entirely for the divorce. “It’s the child that always pays for the mother’s mistakes and short-sightedness, just as it is the soldier that pays for his commanding officer’s blunders,” she says.

Eleanor H. Porter has made Mary Marie both observant and believably naive, much as Elizabeth Berg did more recently with Katie in Joy School. Adult readers will sense how close Mary Marie comes to getting into real trouble, even though teenagers may miss that entirely.

Whether you’re 14 or 64, this slender novel is worth reading.

Mary Marie
by Eleanor H[odgman] Porter
1920 bestseller #6
Project Gutenberg ebook #
My grade: B

© 2010 Linda Gorton Aragoni

Project Gutenberg

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Linda Aragoni

I read. I write. I think. I make big ideas simple. I help teachers teach expository writing to teens and adults. In my free time, I read and review old novels.

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