IN EVERY WOMAN'S LIFE. . . by Alix Kates Shulman


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Shulman (Memoirs of an Ex-Prom Queen, Burning Questions, On The Stroll) attempts a feminist tract on marriage in the 80's, but the result is a cold, desperately trendy soap opera of infidelity among a pack of self-satisfied New York intellectuals. Rosemary Streeter shares an enviably large Upper East Side apartment with her successful husband Harold and their two talented and attractive children. Rosemary has a lover; Harold, a mistress. But Rosemary, the soul of liberalism, manages to remain untroubled by her (or her husband's) duplicity. She describes her marriage as ""inviolable."" Rosemary's only moral challenge (in this morally blank tale) comes from her unmarried friend Nora, an ambitious journalist who had her tubes tied in her early 20s. (""For Nora, the operative word is freedom."") Nora is appalled by Rosemary's marital ties; and Rosemary is wary of Nora's independence--""each sees the other as the court in which she must justify herself."" Eventually, Rosemary's marriage dissolves (the reason is not given), so Rosemary gets a Ph.D. in mathematics (everything here seems to be painless). Rosemary then gathers her family for one last dinner on the same night that Nora celebrates the anniversary of the first time she dined alone in an expensive restaurant. Meanwhile, Rosemary's pregnant daughter decides to marry. A certain wit is here, but ultimately this is a facile, heartless book, in the genre of alienated chic, about people who prefer ""life styles"" to real life.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1987
Publisher: Knopf