Abortion was The Issue in Ray's fluffy, YA-ishly thin, but nice first novel, The Proposal (1981). This time it's Working...



Abortion was The Issue in Ray's fluffy, YA-ishly thin, but nice first novel, The Proposal (1981). This time it's Working Wives and Whether to Have a Baby--and again there's a modestly engaging tone and an open-faced sincerity to go along with the slight, upbeat treatment. Susan is a young, successful photographer and amateur ballet-student, recently moved to Dallas with husband Ted. (Her accidental shot of a leaping suicide made her famous some years back.) Ted is just starting an exciting new job with a computer firm. (The novel's most charming vignette is a flashbackchapter demonstrating Ted's entrepreneurial leaning--his pre-adolescent syndicate for buying a Playboy subscription.) But, despite everything going so well, Ted is reluctant for them to have a child. For a while, then, the focus shifts to other matters: the couple makes new friends in Eric Cenelli and his wife Louise, a lawyer who has left her job to be a full-time mother (lots of pro-and-con discussion about this); and there's a visit from Susan's ne'er-do-well sister Anne, an unlucky-in-love alcoholic who challenges Susan's self-image and ideas about marriage. Soon, however, two crises give the status quo a tumble: Anne is revealed to be having an affair with married Eric (""If friendship was not sacred, and family was not sacred, and marriage was not sacred, then what was sacred?""); and Ted loses his job--which at first panics him (why, all of a sudden, does he now want successful Susan to have a baby?), then becomes a fairly pleasant experience. But, if all this threatens Susan's belief in traditional values, she reaffirms her positive feelings on a photography-trip to Central America with Ted--where she finds a positive message in the post-earthquake recovery, while Ted finds a new career (importing Central American crafts). And, back home again, it's baby time at last: ""Now she was prepared to make the decision. But not with her head. With her heart."" Chatty, a little preachy, and awfully superficial--but unpretentious, too, with reasonably lifelike, non-soap-operatic behavior from Susan, Ted, and the agreeable supporting cast.

Pub Date: Oct. 7, 1983


Page Count: -

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1983

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