I am writing in regards to (Judith Freeman's) review of my mother's new novel, "Home Free" (Feb. 3). I am not writing in defense of my mother (Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey). A daughter's viewpoint is not considered objective--though it has always seemed to me much more difficult to earn your daughter's respect than a stranger's. I am writing instead in defense of the homeless.

"Home Free" is about a woman who takes in a homeless family. To call it "preposterous" lets everyone off the hook. To criticize the choice of an Iowa farm family as the homeless heroes instead of an alcoholic or a drug addict is to show misunderstanding of who the homeless in our country are.

My mother spent the Sunday your review was published in a scene right out of her book: taking a family we have adopted to the Farmer's Market. That family would be homeless today without my mother's help. There are so many families out there just like them. And it is so easy to find them and to help. Preposterously easy.

The review ended by comparing "Home Free" to the movies of Jimmy Stewart and June Allyson--which, though meant as criticism, I can't help seeing as a compliment. But it's not "Allison" as printed, it's Allyson. And "Home Free" is not just a sentimental tale, it's what can really happen.


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