“An Acceptable Time” is a bit of a mess. It’s full of comments about the human condition which are contradicted two lines later. Characters act in inconsistent and sometimes confusing ways. The point of the whole thing is difficult to understand and arguably not as important as the characters think it is.
But that’s okay, because I’m pretty sure that’s the point. The novel is about Peggy, the teenage daughter of Meg and Calvin. She’s a teenager, she’s trying to figure out the world and herself. She does things that are brave and foolish, she fails to judge people’s character, and she thinks she knows far more about the world than she really does. For those of us who had…tamer adolescences, it hits home.