The Singing Creek Where the Willows Grow: The Rediscovered Diary of Opal Whiteley

Opal Whiteley, Author, Benjamin Hoff, Editor, Benjamin Hoff, Adapted by Ticknor & Fields $16.45 (367p) ISBN 978-0-89919-444-8
In 1920, when the Atlantic Monthly Press published the childhood diary of Opal Whiteley (The Story of Opal, it became an immediate bestseller, acclaimed for the extraordinary expression of a child's view of nature, life and family in her native Oregon. The view is joyfully pantheistic and anthropomorphic: the fields are a fairy land; the woods harbor a fir tree named Byron; a pig answers to Peter Paul Rubens; a young wife is ""Dear Love''; ``angel parents'' take care of Opal, who purports to be adopted. Childish spellings mingle with sophisticated foreign phrases. A year later the diary was declared a hoax, a fantasy, by the press, which deemed the book an adult-child collaboration. Opal, buffeted by ill fortune, retreated further into a fantasy world. Diagnosed a schizophrenic, she is today in a hospital outside London, where Hoff, having rediscovered the diary, attempted unsuccessfully to interview her. Interjecting his frustration, he nevertheless succeeds in bringing about an understanding, 65 years later, of a tragically gifted child. Hoff is the author of The Tao of Pooh. (September 26)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1986
Release date: 09/01/1986
Paperback - 384 pages - 978-0-14-023720-7
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