Child World by Thaddeus Rutkowski

Child World24 pages

Red Glass Books – December 2013

Review by: Marcelle Thiébaux

Here is a riveting collection of Thaddeus Rutkowski’s brief, emotional pieces touching on childhood and parenthood. The focus appears to be on the author’s own present-day family, where a young, lively, teen-age daughter is at the heart.

There are forays into the past and toward other nearby families–even to a couple of vulnerable young birds watching tv from their nest (“Family of Birds”) contributing to the capriciousness often present.  The parental mood is protective, responsible and loving–with a frequent whimsical quality, as in “Father Figures?” and “The Truth about the Tooth Fairy.” Not to mention the fantasy of “Sitting on the Ceiling,” where daughter suggests “I know how we could have more space…. We could use the ceiling as the floor.” The eeriness and paranormal genre of “Lost in Space” doesn’t lose any of the psychological reality of how this family interacts; in fact, the story deepens this relationship. The personalities of father, daughter and mother emerge with vividness in their individual voices and attitudes; the parents’ conscientiousness and anxieties, the daughter’s inquiring, venturesome, playful and serious moods.

There’s often a bitter-sweet flavor–as with warning fears of other scary, untrustworthy fathers who may like children the wrong way (“My Absent Father” and “Riding Alone”). Intensely moving meditations on mortality are in “Scary Dream,” and “Dear Daughter.” Overall, “Child World” is both wide-ranging and specific, a pleasure to savor in small, delicious bites.

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Check out the book here: http://janetkaplan-litworks.com/red_glass_books_store

mich th-Marcelle Thiébaux is the author of books and articles on medieval literature, among them, The Stag of Love: The Chase in Medieval Literature; The Writings of Medieval Women; and Dhuoda: Handbook for her Warrior Son. She has written about women of all centuries, including British feminist Mary Wollstonecraft and American Pulitzer Prize winner Ellen Glasgow. http://www.marcellethiebaux.com/

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