The Worry Girl: Stories from a Childhood

The GLBTRT has been reviewing books and movies in its newsletter since the early 1990s. Trace the evolution of queer publishing through these historic reviews. This review was originally published in  Vol. 5. No. 1, Spring 1993. 

Cover of The Worry GirlThe Worry Girl: Stories from a Childhood. By Andrea Freud Lowenstein. Firebrand books, 1992. $8.95. Paper. (ISBN 1-56341-016-8) $18.95. Cloth. (ISBN 1-56341-017-6)

The Worry Girl is about growing up in many different ways: Jewish, apartment dweller, daughter of Holocaust survivors. It’s about being the only kid in class who’s seen a psychiatrist by age six (the author is the greatgranddaughter of Freud); being the only one who can’t do twelve line maps or sew a skirt; and the only one who hasn’t known everyone else since kindergarten.

Lowenstein’s collection is a moving blend of fiction and narrative. Each chapter of this very personal work touches on the facet of survival in a world that demands fitting into a mold. The narrator is far from the only misfit in that world; and one of the most painful realizations is that even misfits can’t band together. They prefer to despise each other; a dear foreshadowing of the adult world to come.

The heroine’s coming out at the end of the book is very well done. It has evolved gently and logically. Again we see Lowenstein’s skill is foreshadowing. The previous boy / girl childhood battles are kept realistic and are not exaggerated as they could have been (and too often are). The book is highly readable and is suitable for high school age and up. Suitable for all libraries.

Reviewed by E.R.Magal
Tel Aviv, Israel

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