Barbara Howar's novel doesn't laugh all the way although there are certain superficial resemblances--mostly the locales (from the South to Washington to TVland) as well as the emotional mobility of its heroine. But Lilly, now forty--even if her youngster says that's just at the beginning of old--is divorced, insecure and has no sense of personal accountability. She's still always looking back on the lovely, discarded mother who was indisposed (drunk) until her early death and she cries a lot in between quips (admittedly quick but they're pretty mild). In spite of George, a journalist, one of those good old Georges who's always around to pick up after her and who helped her become a successful movie commentator on the spot that follows the sports on your 11 o'clock news. But in between--there were so many in betweens--after the ten-year, doldrum-dull marriage to Harry and their two inadvertent children, it's silly to mention all the names even though there was one, the first one, a cornhusk politico to whom she would gladly have devoted the rest of her life before he followed the dictates of his conscience and heart after the Kennedy assassination. At the end, after some six reluctantly liberated years of closed-end liaisons, she seems to know where she's going. . . . A woman's book, exclusively, which lets down its hair without raising any particular consciousness, but Lilly is candidly and helplessly appealing. Think of it as a slow burn with a sentimental chic and you'll enjoy it for the kind of entertainment it is. Surely many women will.