PRIVATE SCORES by Anne Tolstoi Wallach


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A lively and revealing look at upscale Manhattan lives, Wallach's follow-up to Women's Work (1981) will turn off many by its rather cavalier dismissal of the child abuse at its core. Newly divorced and financially insecure in her casting-director career, Cornelia Fuller would hardly seem to have it all; but her 7-year-old daughter, Livvie, makes her feel that way--especially since Livvie's acceptance at the prestigious Boston School. Livvie, however, is not doing weld in school, and her behavior is increasingly strange. Then, suddenly, she's expelled--along with dozens of other girls deemed ""unsuitable"" by the ambitious new headmaster, Dr. Bill Conner. Devastated, Cornelia bands together with two equally puzzled Boston mothers to battle Connor. So concerned is she that Livvie stay on the kiddie fast track, in fact, that she is blinded to the real danger the school contains: in this safe and privileged world, Livvie is being sexually molested. Oddly, Cornelia's new beau--a Scandinavian shrink--doesn't figure out Livvie's secret, either. And head. master Conner, once informed, decides to cover up the matter. Only inadvertently, by attempting to oust Conner, will Cornelia learn the truth. Exploring the impossible demands of career and motherhood, Wallach is at her ironic best. But Cornelia's love interest--the shrink--never really convinces. And though the novel moves briskly, it grinds to a grim and horrifying halt when Wallach walks Cornelia into the sunset--without resolving the psychological torment of her daughter.

Pub Date: Oct. 17th, 1986
Publisher: New American Library