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Henry Denker, Author
Henry Denker, Author William Morrow & Company $19.95 (454p) ISBN 978-0-688-10450-4
Hardcover - 656 pages - 978-0-7089-8804-6
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As a scenario for the triumph of racial justice, this gently sentimental story by the author of The Choice accomplishes its mission, albeit in platitudinous style. Among the immigrant population of New York City's Lower East Side during the 1930s, David and Rebecca Rosen, deeply religious Jews, grieve over Rebecca's inability to have a child. When Rebecca encounters an eight-year-old black girl who has been temporarily placed in the care of a Jewish orphanage while her mother is dying, she takes the audacious step of bringing Elvira into her home. Surmounting the shock of their families and the anxiety of her husband concerning threats to his prospering business, and ignoring the well-intentioned advice of professionals, Rebecca guarantees that Elvira's heritage is not lost while the child also absorbs the Rosens' religious rituals; among the amusing ethnic bridge-building is the intermingling of black and Jewish cuisines. We follow bright, inquiring Elvira through a childhood and adolescence spent in all-white settings--the Rosens move to Central Park West, vacation in the Catskills. Eventually, she becomes a professor at Hunter College and the mother of New York's first black police commissioner. Denker's warm picture of ideal racial relationships is marred by persistently stiff dialogue and soap opera situations. (Mar.)
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