Where Love Begins

Helga Sandburg, Author Dutton Books $20.95 (368p) ISBN 978-1-55611-134-1
This memoir by Carl Sandburg's youngest daughter promises more than it delivers to readers hoping to peer into her father's life. Certainly the raw materials at the author's disposal are splendid, and her rambling anecdotes convey the vigorous, earthy quality of her father's household. But the book's true, if only furtively treated, subject is the author's own struggle to grow up and apart from her formidable family, a need precipitating tumultuous love affairs and marriages, as well as her eventual emergence as a writer of fiction for adults ( The Wheel of Love ) and children ( Anna and the Baby Buzzard ), poetry ( To a New Husband ) and nonfiction ( A Great and Glorious Romance: The Story of Carl Sandburg and Lilian Steichen ). Whatever pathos may lie in the story is diminished greatly by the quality of the writing. The author adopts an embarrassingly disingenuous third-person narrator to tell her tale (``Helga is taking the long view of a literary future. She is frustrated but clearheaded'') and relies on a clumsily rendered stream-of-consciousness style that only accentuates her continual petulance at her lot in life as a reluctant daughter. Photos not seen by PW. ( June )
Reviewed on: 06/01/1989
Release date: 06/01/1989
Paperback - 32 pages - 978-1-55611-223-2
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