Books: Act Like a Lady

ONLY CHILDREN by Alison Lurie Random House;257pages; $9.95

When the actions of adults are seen through the eyes of children, irony is the usual result. The child misinterprets, but the reader understands. So seems the situation in Only Children, in which a couple of nine-year-old girls watch their parents misbehave over a long country weekend.

The time is 1935, and the place is a farm in the Catskills, presided over by a formidable middle-aged woman named Anna. She is headmistress of a progressive day school, and Mary Ann and Lolly, the girls, are...

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