Kewpie Doll

Barbara Hanrahan, Author
Barbara Hanrahan, Author Random House (UK) $11.95 (156p) ISBN 978-0-7012-0856-1
Reviewed on: 06/01/1989
Release date: 06/01/1989
Growing up on the wrong side of the tracks in the suburbs of Adelaide, Australia, in the 1950s is difficult, particularly when your father is dead and your hardworking mother has little time to spend with you. The narrator (whose name we never learn) of this sensitive and persuasive coming-of-age story tells of her struggle to become an artist and break out of the mold that a pk chauvinistic, class-conscious society has shaped for her. Her classmates laugh because she's shy and artistic. Teenage boys ignore her because she isn't like other girls, ``kewpie dolls'' with ``chubby pink faces'' and ``wide eyes with a peek-a-boo stare.'' At the local technical high school, where she studies commercial art, the girls of her background dislike her for dreaming (`` `Zombie,' said the sports captain when she saw me coming''); at Teacher's College in the city, where she trains later as an art instructor, the students from ``classy private schools'' treat her like a ``trespasser.'' Hanrahan, an Australian novelist and artist, depicts the alienation and yearnings of creative young adults with poignancy, shrewd irony and humor. (Dec.)
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