Seeking Author/title of Book Read in Grade School in 70's

This question is driving me crazy – it was asked on a bulletin board

about books and no one has yet been able to asnwer it. I have looked

on numerous sites for help on finding a book I read years ago. A boy

meets these two old ladies that are living in poverty. He brings them

food and helps them around the house. One lady accepts his help, the

other rejects it. They both quote Shakespeare a lot and he learns it

so he can talk to them, it helps him do well in English class but his

other subject's suffer because he's working to try and support them.

Eventually he finds out the two ladies are actually the same person,

the woman has dual personalities or is having fun with him. The lady

dies in the end and leaves a fortune to the boy.

One thought on “Seeking Author/title of Book Read in Grade School in 70's

  1. Hello.

    Your book was likely "The Dream Watcher" (1968) by Barbara Wersba.


    " The main character, the boy, doesn't fit in at home or school… He

    meets an old woman who is manifestly eccentric, and claims to be a

    retired actress, who once knew Sarah Bernhardt. She helps the boy

    learn to be himself. Its only when she dies that the boy finds out she

    was nuts.. she was making up her entire life, whole-cloth."

    From The New York Times review:

    "The Dream Watcher is the story of Albert Scully, a high-school boy…

    It is also the story of Orpha Woodfin, a marvelous old nut…

    Miss Wersba has bravely undertaken the difficult stylistic

    accouterment of much quoted material from Shakespeare…

    The old lady, living in the only remaining original house in the

    midst of a new development, bills herself as a bygone actress who once

    played Juliet…"


    The New York Times, November 3, 1968, p. 469

    Vintage copies available from starting at $1.94.


    search strategy:

    abebooks, advanced search terms: old lady fiction (1965-1975)

    I hope this helps.

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