Books: Life with Daughter

CRESS DELAHANTY (311 pp.) — Jessamyn West—Harcourt, Brace ($3.75).

The first big-name novel of the new year shapes up as a bookstore hit and a literary hit or miss. In Cress Delahanty, Jessamyn West (The Friendly Persuasion, The Witch Diggers) camps on a familiar theme, the growing pains of a lively, sometimes lonely adolescent. A Book-of-the-Month Club choice for January, Cress is episodic in form, and never takes a deep enough drag on its subject to give anyone a sharp sense of reality, but as a kind of filter-tipped "Life with Daughter," it makes engaging light reading.

Big-boned, twelve and tenderhearted, Crescent Delahanty...

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