In the recent One Big Happy Family, Tiersten detailed the spits, snarls, and gabby moonings of divorce, suburban-New-Jersey...



In the recent One Big Happy Family, Tiersten detailed the spits, snarls, and gabby moonings of divorce, suburban-New-Jersey style--with enervating results. Here, in a somewhat livelier soap-lest, five other wives and mothers in their 30s, jumpy as cats, pace inside their marital stress; agonizIngly peer into their pasts; and try new directions (in most cues, new affairs). Queenpin in the tales of trauma is author Nina, married to stodgy Martin--who's writing a short-story about Adultery and then finds the real thing with married Daniel. And when a therapist spills the Nina/Daniel extramarital beans (all four spouses employ the same shrink), the lovers move out from mates and kids, descending on Nina's brother Steven and his frightened, pregnant wife Lainie. Crises pop while Nina and Daniel find their own place. Lainie, hitherto protected from life's vicissitudes, feels ""in the eye of the storm. The furniture of everyday has been overturned."" (She'll soon have a sick baby and an overworked husband, too.) Nina's father Sol rages in: ""You're happy! You left that wonderful man up the street. . . ."" And throughout, while banishing Dad and beginning her own New Life, Nina--an empress of Do-you-want-to-talk-about-it? yakking--dispenses advice to friends with an assortment of wifely itches. Artist Michelle, married to ""Good old A+ Arnold"" (an ophthalmologist who manages to break his toe at Club Med), has a vacation dalliance with exotic Charles--but he's a washout back in N.Y., so Michelle stays with Arnold ($100,000 a year is ""really not so bad""). Writer Lily, pure and ""golden,"" can't seem to ignite hubby France and levitates on vodka; but after Nina provides chicken-soup and guidance, she will move, with Mexican Robert, ""through time and space, creating the shape of her life."" And Nina's childhood chum, lawyer Arlene, though married to Japanese John for 16 years, still broods about her dead father--who hated her because she resembled his mother. (Nina's on hand to straighten Arlene out too--via a shrewd bit of games-playing.) In sum: glossy ladies, whirring like washer-dryers on full cycle, in sloshy situations--but not without popular appeal for the urban/suburban, semi-trendy, nouveausoap audience.

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 1982


Page Count: -

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1982