Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama
Winner of the New York Drama Critics Circle Award
Winner of the OBie Award for Best American Play

The old, converted vegetable shop where Tillie lives is more like a madhouse than a home. Tillie's mother, Beatrice, is bitter and cruel, yet desperate for her daughters' love. Her sister, Ruth, suffers epileptic fits and sneaks cigarettes every chance she gets. In the midst of chaos, Tillie struggles to keep her focus and dreams alive. Tillie -- keeper of rabbits, dreamer of atoms, true believer in life, hope, and the effect of gamma rays on man-in-the-moon marigolds.

"Paul Zindel  was written a masterful, pacesetting drama. It  combines moments of pain, poignancy, beauty, and  hope. It is the most compelling work of its kind  since Tennessee Williams' The Glass  Menagerie."--Variety.

"The ultimate accolade must go to Paul Zindel for  creating a psychologically perceptive ambiance.  Shame hangs in the air of this house and palpably as  poison gas. And yet, Zindel reminds us, strong,  strange, beautiful flowers spring from such compost  heaps. It is a troubling thought, one of the  honest and intelligent values of this splendid and  tormented play."--Time

First published in 1970, the themes of Paul Zindel's Pulitzer Prize-winning play are still relevant today. Tillie is the hopeful protagonist, working toward her educational goals in an effort to escape the chaos of her home. Tillie's mother, Beatrice, is cruel and mad; abusive to her children and to the old woman who boards with the family. Ruth interrupts the chaos with her epileptic fits and alternates between supporting her sister and winding her mother up. Tillie's pain and fear are at the forefront of the story, as she struggles to succeed in the school science fair and receive positive recognition for her man-in-the-moon marigolds. Tension between the characters reaches its height on the night of the fair, when a last minute insult from Ruth causes her mother to remain home in shame. Beatrice's act of retaliation is shocking and brings the play to its disturbing conclusion. The compelling characterizations and plot work together to make this play the classic that it has become.--Children's Literature - Mary Loftus

A Play That Outlooks Life
by Crystal, a highschool student
I thought this play was extraordinary! I enjoyed laughing at how crazy Beatrice was and how she was so desperate for money and how Ruth was trying to fit in with the rest of the world. But Tillie was an intelligent, lonely little girl who had her rabbit to give her comfort and her project to keep her busy. Besides trying to work on her project on her spare time she was a very quiet little girl who didnt say much. It was through her science project that she let people know how her life really was- that even if a plant was mutated by 'gamma-rays' it was still a very beautiful thing. In her case, she was like the mutated marigold. She was beautiful even if she wasnt like everyone else. She was created by many atoms put together. ' Atom. Atom. What a beautiful word.'


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