Books: Tragedy in a Hothouse

BARBARA by Harold Grier McCurdy. 146 pages. Chapel Hill. $4.75.

Everybody said what a delightful little girl Barbara Follett was. She had big dark eyes and long dark curls and a mind full of charming childish surprises. Her parents were teachers (her father later became moderately well known as Critic Wilson Follett) who, at the time of Barbara's birth (1914), decided that their little girl was much too sensitive and gifted to run with the herd of ordinary children that attended public school. So they kept her at home, where they could be sure she received only the finest instruction: their own.

These...