CM Archive
CM Archive Book Review line

Meigs, Mary.

Vancouver, Talonbooks. 1987. 223pp. paper, $1.95, ISBN 0-88922-253-3. CIP

Reviewed by Joan McGrath

Volume 16 Number 4
1988 July

The box closet was a storage room crammed with bags and boxes of letters and diaries in the attic of Mary Meigs' family home in Philadelphia. Writer and artist Meigs, herself advanced in years, felt a compulsion to "get acquainted with" her late parents in a way not possible in their lifetimes. Here, in bits and snatches from a multitude of documents with accompanying comment by Meigs, are the haphazardly preserved fragments of several forceful personalities of the Meigs and Wister families.

Above all, there is the artist's mother. Margaret Wister Meigs (1882-1958), a woman born and nurtured in circumstances of such privilege that she could coolly observe of a suitor that he was, after all, "only upper-middle-class." Meigs tries to present objective lifelike portraits of people very near and dear to her. She has to some extent succeeded, but her family is not as interesting to the reader as it is to the writer. The chief fascination of this not too engrossing posthumus self-portrait of a family lies in the temptation it offers to the reader to trace the influences that helped to shape the character of the author and may have played a part in making her one of the respected voices of the gay community of today.

Joan McGrath, Toronto Board of Education, Toronto, Ont.
line indexes


1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995


The materials in this archive are copyright © The Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission Copyright information for reviewers

Young Canada Works