Books: Story of a Bad Boy

CHARLEY Is MY DARLING (343 pp.]—Joyce Gary—Harper ($3.95).

If novelists write more successfully about bad boys than do sociologists or judges, it is because fiction need not analyze or propose solutions. The late Joyce Gary was no sociologist, no judge; he was a superb storyteller, and his portrait of misbehaving youngsters in this 1940 novel (published in the U.S. for the first time) is both sympathetic and accurate. If it lacks the weight and ironic wisdom of some of his later work (The Horse's Mouth, Herself Surprised), it nevertheless shows the famous Gary virtues: a clear and economical style, a sharp wit,...

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