A PERFECT DIVORCE by Avery Corman

A PERFECT DIVORCE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Corman returns to the subject of his bestselling Kramer vs. Kramer (1977) in a feel-good story about the long-term results of divorce.

Rob and Karen Burrows divorced four years ago, when their son Tommy was 13. No ugly causes like adultery were involved, just the pressures of two careers colliding. Rob, who manufactures playground equipment, has remarried well: Vickie is a warmhearted, divorced mother of two. Karen, who runs a crafts-store/gallery in Manhattan’s Soho, is involved in a comfortable, undemanding relationship with Bill, a widower. As Tommy approaches high school graduation, he’s a well-adjusted, likable kid whose wit comes out in the cartoons he writes for the school paper. High-achievers that they are, Rob and Karen grudgingly accept that Tommy’s grades and SAT scores limit his college choices. He ends up at a decent small college in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, but after an unpleasant first semester experience, he breaks the news to his parents that academia is not for him. As Tommy establishes an independent blue-collar life for himself in Pittsfield, Rob realizes that he’s in danger of sinking his second marriage if he doesn’t spend more time with Vickie and her kids. Stung by Bill’s lack of interest in Tommy’s problems, Karen breaks up with him (but not to worry: another, even nicer, widower is waiting in the wings). Meanwhile, Tommy falls into a dream job with a major American artist who recognizes the boy’s artistic gifts and engineers his enrollment at Rhode Island School of Design. As Rob and Karen share their ongoing concern for their son, their friends can’t understand why they divorced. Readers may not, either. The two seldom argue, display no discomforting sexual yearnings, exhibit mild nostalgia. The tart realism of the early scenes, where the two do struggle with private disappointments and ambivalence, quickly dissipates into a sweet pudding of happy endings.

Competent. Bland. If only real life were so nice.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-312-32983-0
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2004




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