HOMEBODIES: Lethem, Ohio, Pop. 3,200 by Alicia Miller

HOMEBODIES: Lethem, Ohio, Pop. 3,200

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In this mild mill-pond of a first novel--with its diverting ripples of neighborly cracking wise--three middle-aged couples sweeten their souring marriages, a mentally ill teenager is cured, and a drifting college grad gets back on track. Good-looking English teacher Katherine Watters, mother of two young boys, is increasingly weary of husband Dr. David's steady, off-putting calm. Neighbor Mona--she of the ""twittery charm,"" near-anorexic do-gooder of their small Ohio town--resents husband Sam's continued absence on business, and decides to have her eyelids ""done."" An older couple, the Newcombs, have given up--more or less--on their blah marriage, torn asunder by the ""adolescent psychosis"" of son Buddy, who's receiving treatment at a center. Irene now writes romances as ""Nicolle""; husband Harry keeps his distance. Meanwhile, back to Katherine, who--beginning to have fantasies about gorgeous young house-painter Robin Hastings--has uncovered some ""crazy, steamy energy"" within. But can it be possible that all Robin wants from her is an English-course reading list? Mona will make a pass at David (during the time the Watterses move in after a fire of suspicious origin), but like Katherine and Irene, Mona, too, will discover that the Bluebird of Marital Happiness is right in her very own bedroom of her grand Victorian house. As for Buddy, parental love and therapy bring him around. There are bright comic bits and homey neighborhood to-ing and fro-ing--all in all, very cheery and pat.

Pub Date: June 28th, 1988
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly--dist. by Little, Brown