Book #13: The Children’s Hour, by Lillian Hellman

Book #13: The Children's Hour, by Lillian Hellman

The Children’s Hour was the first play written by a woman we read in my American Drama course, and I’m certainly glad to have read it. Though it was written in the 1930s, The Children’s Hour tells a very modern and progressive story. It may not necessarily carry the same weight with contemporary audiences because some of the story seems rather unrelateable in 2014, but in a historical context, it certainly rings true.

The story centers on two women, Martha and Karen, who own and run a school together. When one bratty student, Mary, decides to start rumors about the nature of the relationship between the school’s headmistresses, the women find their lives turned upside down. I immediately felt connected to the story; the emotions in this play are very real to readers. The 1961 film adaptation stars Audrey Hepburn and Shirley Maclaine, who were, in my opinion, very well cast. The film is slightly different than the play, but still accurate overall, and worth watching.


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