Simon & Schuster, Apr 2002, 24.00, 272 pp.
In 1964 Wynnemoor, Pennsylvania, nine-year-old Jane MacLeod escapes from her unhappily married parents by writing about happy families coming together. However, on the night the Beatles appear on TV, her mother unable to stand the way her surgeon husband constantly deserts her to care for his patients, takes the children and leaves. Jane blames herself because she informed her father the phone was off the hook, something her mother did to keep the hospital from calling.
Now in her mid twenties, Jane is visiting London, heeding the advice of her grandmother to always THINK OF ENGLAND when depressed. She makes friends there, but feels guilt from what she caused to her family. Jane remains disconnected and still yearning for a happy family.
Thirty-six, Jane is a single mother of nine-year old Emily. At her mother's sixty-fifth birthday bash, Jane and her mother discuss that fateful day for the first time since it happened. Jane begins to finally come to grips with the underlying cause of why she lives s life filled with guilt. Perhaps now she can heal and shower the love of a happy family on her child?
THINK OF ENGLAND is at his best when Jane takes center stage, as she is a wonderfully complex character. When the story line places her in a back seat (during the middle years), the tale loses focus spinning in a different direction. However, the plot rights itself for the final segment. Alice Elliot Dart's tale is a well written character study that is intended for those who want to know the answer to is that all there is?
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner