From Library Journal
Were the critics and the public right in 1940 when they rejected this strange book? Or were later critics right when, in 1968, they "rediscovered" The Man Who Loved Children and dubbed it a modern classic? Given the book's excesses and strengths, it is difficult to make a reasonable literary judgment either way. But simply as a portrait of an extraordinary family, the book probably has no equal. And what a family! A charismatic, egotistical father (Sam) spouts nonstop high-minded rubbish while using playful camaraderie to dominate his seven children. His bitter wife (Henny), overworked and desperate, communicates mostly through screaming tirades. Louie, the sensitive older daughter, agonizes as she witnesses the events that eventually lead to tragedy. Although the larger-than-life domestic scenes may not always be pleasant to read, they are nevertheless unforgettable. Listening to them might actually be better than reading them, since the reader might be tempted to skip Sam's long-winded harangues and so disrupt the narrative. With tapes, the splendid writing can be fully appreciated. M.C. Herbert reads the challenging text with skill and understanding. It is unfortunate, however, that the excellent introduction by Randall Jarrell is not included. Recommended for literary collections.?Jo Carr, Sarasota, Fla.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"This crazy, gorgeous family novel is one of the great literary achievements of the twentieth century. I carry it in my head the way I carry childhood memories; the scenes are of such precise horror and comedy that I feel I didn't read the book so much as live it."—Jonathan Franzen, author of The Corrections
"A story of life, faithfully plotted, clearly told, largely peopled with real souls, genuine problems; it is realistically set, its intention and drive are openly and fully revealed; it is also a work of absolute originality."—Elizabeth Hardwick
"It must be a classic, for there are very few novels in English that are as large and as beautifully written."—Robert Lowell
"One of the best novels of this century."—Walter Clemons, Newsweek