SOMETHING BORROWED by Alexandra Marshall


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 Marshall's mature wit and sophisticated style are in evidence once again (as in Tender Offer, 1981, etc.), but a thin plot involving former spouses who fall back in love offers too little support for her philosophical musings. Charlie Burr is marrying the girl next door, so it's not surprising that his mother, Gale, a psychotherapist, gets misty- eyed just looking at the couple on the night before the ceremony- -despite the lurking presence of her own personal reminder of marriage's pitfalls, ex-husband Gary. In reality, though, Gary's arrival at the festivities isn't entirely unwelcome. Charlie loves his father, though irresponsible Gary wasn't around much while Charlie was growing up, and while Gary's been married twice more since divorcing Gale, his touch still sends a surprisingly powerful tingle down her spine. As the three-day festivities proceed, Gale and Gary manage to slip away from his younger wife, Sandra, and Gale's older husband, Bob, to explore the pluses and minuses of their breakup--and to spend a night in a hotel room remembering what they liked best about being a married pair. As Sandra maneuvers to win back her man, dragging Bob along, Gale and Gary's grown daughter agonizes over what her parents's possible reunion will do to her psyche and how she'll deal with her mother's lack of time for her. In the end, Gale admits to herself that too much time has passed for the fantasy of winning back Gary ever to come true, and though Gary is less than convinced, Sandra's determination is sufficient for both of them. The wedding party disperses, and the two couples head for different ends of the country, each a little older and wiser than before. Wry, observant, and often amusing, but in need of more flesh on its bones.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-395-81665-3
Page count: 223pp
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 1997


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