This is my first novel by Theodore Sturgeon and it most certainly will not be the last. I read the book in one sitting. I'm not sure now if that was a good idea but I was entranced, could not sleep, and it is rather short. I was certain the book would be listed on my favorites shelf but the ending, or certain characterisitcs of the ending, forced me to withdraw from the book and look at it from the outside, not from within as I had the majority of the story.
I knew before beginning that Sturgeon initially wrote Baby is Three, the middle section of the novel. This publication and what Sturgeon was critically acclaimed for, was essentially 3 novellas combined, with the same characters but each separated by a few years. The Fabulous Idiot was added as the beginning and Morality the end. Baby is Three is my uncontested favorite and I wish I could place it solely on my favorites shelf but the work is complete and needs the other pieces to be enjoyed.
The book centers around a number of neglected and abused children who eventually meet and begin to form a gestalt group. I found the idea fascinating and was blown away by the knowledge that this book was published in 1953. Sturgeon's prose was riveting and shocking at times. I do not want to mention anything more about the plot as I went into the book knowing nothing, not even about the gestalt topic, so the less you know about the book, I think the more you will enjoy it. I guess this is nothing new. Many reviews give away too much.
The reason for the 4 stars, as I mentioned, is due to my problems with the ending. First off, reading a book about children who rarely spoke like children but did on occasion act like children worked for me. It was all very believable. But in the final section, I thought the dialogue took a turn downward. When Sturgeon began to write about adults acting like adults and speaking like adults, he lost me. I no longer felt connected through the dialogue at all and consequently, this kicked my head out of the story and the ending fell a little flat. I liked the ending and thought it was perfect otherwise. Sturgeon's prose was beautiful throughout the rest of the book.
In the end, if you are a fan of classic science fiction then this is a required read.