by Tony Kornheiser ‧ RELEASE DATE: Oct. 1, 1983
The small story of a childless couple tempted to deal with a semi-illegal adoption racket--delivered, unfortunately, as a verbose, hyped-up psychodrama. After nine years of marriage, young Washington reporter Kornheiser and wife Karril have been unable to have a child; Kornheiser wallows in the pain of this--nine paragraphs beginning ""I want to tell you what it feels like to. . .""--and later rehashes it all as a standup comic routine. (""I need this aggravation, right? I know fags who have more kids than me."") But then comes a call from a woman named Polly, who offers a healthy, about-to-be-born white baby for $15,000. Karril, who has been through physical/mental agony, is eager. Tony is skeptical--and secretly doesn't really want to adopt (""I had this quasi-religious obsession about blood""). He consults lawyers, has fantasies about stealing the baby, worries about the risks of a not-quite-legal, cash-under-the-table adoption. (The natural mother might knock ""on the judge's chambers, asking the musical question--'What's an eight-letter-word meaning, ""I Want My Kid Back?"" You got it, Your Honor. Now sing along with Mama: That old coercion up and down my spine/That old coercion when your cash met mine!'"") While the negotiations continue with the ""Gray Market"" baby agency, Tony researches the baby-adoption scene, hears a horror story about a Colombian adoption, arranges for a doctor to check out the newborn, but becomes increasingly reluctant to part with $15,000. (""The money was the critical mass, and its psycho-emotional side effects were the fallout."") And finally, after marital fights, flashbacks, and murky reconciliations (""We'd been caught in a psychodramatic arcade and been bounced around like pinballs. . .We were one spark away from an electrical fire, and desperate for insulation""), they decide not to adopt the baby--even though Tony believes it might carry ""Harry Chapin's transubstantiated soul."" As a magazine article, this might have had punch. As a mercilessly padded, smart-alecky/sentimental book, it's more often embarrassing than involving--and an unnecessary addendum to the many recent strong books on adoption.
Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1983
Page Count: -
Review Posted Online: N/A
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1983
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