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The irresistible Henry House : a novel
Lisa Grunwald
Adult Fiction GRUNWAL

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Like T.S. Garp, Forrest Gump or Benjamin Button, Henry House, the hero of Grunwald's imaginative take on a little known aspect of American academic life, has an unusual upbringing. In 1946, orphaned baby Henry is brought to all-girl's Wilton College as part of its home economics program to give young women hands-on instruction in child-rearing (such programs really existed). Henry ends up staying on at the practice house and growing up under the care of its outwardly stern but inwardly loving program director, Martha Gaines. As a protest against his unusual situation, Henry refuses to speak and is packed off to a special school in Connecticut, where his talents as an artist and future lover of women bloom. After he drops out of school, Henry finds work as an animator, working on Mary Poppins, then on the Beatles¿ Yellow Submarine. With cameos by Dr. Benjamin Spock, Walt Disney and John Lennon, and locations ranging from a peaceful college campus to swinging 1960s London, Grunwald nails the era just as she ingeniously uses Henry and the women in his life to illuminate the heady rush of sexual freedom (and confusion) that signified mid-century life. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

For several decades beginning in the 1920s, some college home economic departments had practice houses, complete with practice babies for students to learn scientific principles of child and home care. The babies were orphans who spent a year tended by students before being adopted. Grunwald explores what life might have been like for one such baby. Henry House, the tenth Wilton College practice baby, earns his title of irresistible by learning early how to please eight different mothers. He's a master at keeping women engaged while never showing a preference. He learns how to imitate but not to create, a skill that helps him become a competent cartoon illustrator but not a true cartoonist. Not until he comes close to losing the one friend who knows him best does he begin to break the patterns learned as a baby. Verdict This welcome variation of coming-of-age tales shares with Grunwald's previous novels (Whatever Makes You Happy; Summer) a compelling web of characters and emotions that will please will please the author's fans and readers interested in novels with emotional depth. [Library marketing; ebook available 3/10: ISBN 978-1-58836-988-8.]-Jan Blodgett, Davidson Coll. Lib., NC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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more titles about

main characters Martha Gaines
Female
Widowed; childless; middle-aged; looks over the children of an orphange housed in a university.

Henry House
Male
Raised in a university by young women; tries to learn how to love.



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