ACTING OUT by Benilde Little


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Husband leaves, wife gets a life.

Without knowing exactly how it happened, sexy photographer and college rebel Ina Eleazar became a suburban, car-pooling, Prozac-popping housewife and mother of three. No wonder her husband Jay found himself a new love. A high-earning real estate salesman, he’s apparently surrounded by glamorous, well-dressed women and simply has to pick one. Ina thinks back to her youthful days at Howard University and her passionate affair with David, who raised her consciousness before he went off to Ghana with the Peace Corps. Son of a distinguished family—his mother was a successful Washington, D.C., lawyer and world-renowned child advocate—David wasn’t ready to do the family thing, though he and Ina did love each other. Much scattershot musing: Could it be that Ina settled for Jay, a handsome fraternity brotha with ambition, because she needed security? Not that her Momma ever encouraged her to do anything but follow her dream, as did her cousin and lifelong best friend Zackie, a drag queen. Trite insights: “So much of life is about letting go of illusions.” Ina has to scramble to manage the three children alone, though Jay comes through with adequate support and even takes them off her hands every other weekend, leaving Ina free to have affairs, stay out late, and think it all over. Girlfriend Kayreen commiserates: her brother Jimmy just left his wife of 20 years for a Texas deb who collects diamonds. Ina may have to sell her roomy, sun-filled house and downscale her buppie lifestyle. In fact, she’s actually terrified about money. Good thing Jay isn’t too thrilled about this either, because the two of them end up in a therapist’s office after an unexpected encounter with Jay’s new love.

Rambling treatment of a very familiar theme, from second-novelist Little (Good Hair, 1996), whose highly personal style gives it some flava.

Pub Date: Jan. 21st, 2003
ISBN: 0-684-85480-5
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Free Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 2002


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