By PAT JONES
LUCILLE HASLEY is a Catholic writer at present leaving scars on the American reading public. Her genius lies in the way she first represents herself to us as a fluffy-head, a bird brain, frivolously considering this or that equally frivolous question with the lightest possible touch. But hers is the iron band in the velvet glove—like the best of clowns, she is deadly serious. Her books, her articles, are meant to entertain, but at 'the end of lighthearted excursions into facets of life in general, or the Hasley household in particular, we have absorbed. along with a lot of fun. some hard fact, something of value.
OCCASIONALLY, as in the "Let Nothing You Dismay " Christmas fantasy, Ii. la Dickens, on the American pagan Christmas, her pen is dipped in pure acid, but this is the exception rather than the rule.
This appears in her latest book, " Play it Cool, Sister " (Sheed & Ward, 12s. 6d.). Parents with a guilty feeling that they ought to take their holidays with their offspring in one big happy family should read the part on "Togetherness." It will frighten them badly. The fact that American life supplies the material is obvious. The dialogue corning from a priest who suddenly realised that the eightyyear-old lady to whom he was
about to administer the Last Rites was lonely and scared could only have come from America.
Gathering her up in his arms like a lost child. he said: "Honey, haven't we been friends for a long, long time? Why are you afraid of me now? Why, look, honey, I administered Last Rites to another good friend of mine only a month ago. Yesterday — guess what!--yesterday I saw her downtown buying a new hall"
HAVING read this far
' down the column, 1 can perhaps assume that readers are interested in books, and this is the time to push in a mere pamphlet. a slender slip of a thing, called "Reading for Catholic Parents." Considering such a book must be mainly prosaic cataloguing, and the fact that the actual text goes under some really dull titles (The Necessity of Reading, The Parent in Education, The Parent as Religious Educator), it comes as a shock, a delightful shock, to read the sparkling, amusing exhortations hidden between two grey covers.
Again, like Mrs. Hasley, the writer is wooing us by being entertaining, poking at our minds in the hopes that they wilt uncurl. Still, the writer is F. Sheed, so we should have expected it. The best 2s. worth for anyone with a child, and a dire necessity for anyone who thinks their mind might bewell—just a little rusty. This book advises on how to give it a wash and brush-up for the most unselfish of reasons for the good of one's offspring. They can then trot outside and say to friends: "My dad's much cleverer than yours" --and believe it for more years than is usual.
OF course, there comes that awkward moment when the child, tiring of impressing his companions with his parents' superiority, comes trotting in again. His question is one which has struck terror into generations of parents. It is: "What shall I do now?" There is a good possibility that the parent has forgotten many of the things that kept him out of mischief as a child, and cannot pass them on. Thus perishes the culture of a nation. To remedy this situation, also from America where the children are apparently suffering from a surfeit of T.V., comes the book "How To Do Nothing With Nobody All Alone By Yourself". If yogi have forgotten all the important things in life, like making paper darts which really fly, or whipping apples, or think buttons arc things for clothes and spools things for cotton, this book will be 10s. 6d. well spent. World's Work publish it,