Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Book Review: The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds

The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds *Click here to request this book* The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds: A Drama in Two Acts, by Paul Zindel

This two-act play-- the 1971 Pulitzer Prize Winner-- about a dysfunctional family makes quite the disturbing read. Paul Zindel claims that this play is semi-autobiographical in nature, with the author changing his name and sex. He becomes Tillie, a young student with a bitter, man-hating, divorced mother with serious control issues and suicidal tendencies. She also has an epileptic and perhaps mentally disturbed sister, Ruth, a pet rabbit that is killed by her mother, and a severely senile woman named Nanny (whom her mother is paid to care for) living with her. All of this may be a little much for some readers. It would also be a difficult play to act out. Firstly, there are no male characters at all. Second, Tillie’s mother, Beatrice, rewards Ruth by providing her with cigarettes, and it is quite likely that seeing young actors light up (or pretend to) on stage will result in controversy. This is not an easy play to digest, whether it is read or performed. Still, it does make a powerful read.
-Adult Circulation Staff

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