Tiny Dabs Produce Clear Portrait in All Kneeling

From its title, I expected All Kneeling to be a religious novel and, in a perverse way, it is.

The main character, Christabel Craine, is an attractive young woman with modest talent for writing but enormous talent for making people think she deserves to be worshiped.

Growing up in an extended family of well-to-do, elderly relatives, Christabel learns to control those around her in socially acceptable ways. She says she has only the highest motives for doing whatever she pleases, and people believe her.

All but Uncle Johnny.

Uncle Johnny doesn’t think much of Christable’s  writing or her conduct. The only credit he gives her is for not making people walk backwards from her presence.

Among literature’s self-centered females, Christabel stands out. She knows exactly what she is doing.

The fact that Christabel doesn’t violate laws or morality or even social conventions is doesn’t make her any less any less despicable — or any less fascinating.

All Kneeling has no plot to speak of; it is all about character. Anne Parrish paints Christabel and her circle with sure, tiny strokes, suggesting rather than telling.

Like a Monet painting, the little bits of this easy-reading novel add up to an insightful portrait.

All Kneeling
by Anne Parrish
Harper & Brothers, 1928
323 pages
1928 #8
My grade B+
© 2008 Linda Gorton Aragoni

Published by

Linda G. Aragoni

I make big ideas simple for learners. In eight sentences, 34 words, I taught teens and adults to write competently. Now I'm writing guides to turn willing volunteers into great nursing home visitors.

2 thoughts on “Tiny Dabs Produce Clear Portrait in All Kneeling

  1. I saw a Carol Burnett show where they had a spoof of “Born to be Bad,” the movie based loosely on “All Kneeling.” It made me want to read the book. Now I just have to find an inexpensive copy.
    And by the way, I love your blog! Thanks for the great reviews.


    1. I didn’t know there is a movie version of All Kneeling and I certainly wouldn’t have associated the novel with the title Born to Be Bad. Thanks for the heads up and the kind words about my blog.

      I generally go to Alibris.com for old books. It’s a sales site for multiple independent sellers both businesses and individuals. I like supporting small businesses—and getting bargains at the same time.

      Happy reading!


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