Henrietta, privileged and sheltered, expected a smoothly comfortable society life in Washington when she married Sam Pollitt, a handsome self-made biologist. Ten years later, Henny is a skinny, screaming drudge with five children, a raging wreck of a woman driven by "hate, horror, passion or contempt". But Sam, whose impractical idealism has brought his family to near-ruin, is unchanged: still at sea in all adult affairs, an absurd hypocritical buffoon but a genius with children, except Louie, his eldest daughter, an ugly, brilliant adolescent who is forced to take a drastic final step to save herself and the children from lasting tragedy.
©1940 The Estate of Christina Stead (P)2001 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd
"The Man Who Loved Children is one of the most truthful and terrifying horror stories ever written about family life." (Times)
Two things killed this for me. I found two of the three main characters unlikeable. And I found the dialogue, which comprises 90% of the text, irritating. It is not badly written. It may even justify the praise given by other reviewers. I just didn't enjoy the endless trivial infant-talk and silly rhymes. After about a quarter of the book I couldn't bear it any longer and stopped listening.
The reading was clear, but sometimes it was hard to work out who was speaking, too little differentiation.
It was an interesting book, but I believe that the tale could have been told in half of the time.
I didn't actually like, any of the characters.
Probably this book was before it's time.
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