CHANGE OF CIRCUMSTANCE by Candida Lawrence

CHANGE OF CIRCUMSTANCE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 An autobiographical saga by a pseudonymous woman who kidnaps her children from their father and escapes with them into hiding. Reeling and Writhing (not reviewed) chronicled Lawrence's marriage and subsequent effort to get her children away from her husband, who she claimed played sexual games with them. This sequel picks up in 1965: Lawrence has fled with the children, seven-year-old Olivia (who soon becomes Linda) and four-year-old Tony (who stubbornly retains his name), to California via Arizona. But so riddled is this book with false trails that California may actually be Maine and Arizona an alias for Michigan, Olivia/Linda may be a boy and Tony a girl. Whoever and wherever they really are, they find a house, the children enroll in school, and the author begins a series of jobs as a teacher, her real-life calling--or is it? Her job requires fingerprints, school transcripts, and unassailable references, all of which she gets with the help of friends and the underground network that flourished in the '60s. Although she lives in fear that Tony, who was not so sure about leaving his father, will blurt out the truth, her husband does not find them. Fear must have imprinted these difficult years in Lawrence's memory like circuits on a microchip: She describes them in such evocative detail (rooms, furniture, the death of Henrietta the Thanksgiving turkey) that the book could be fiction--or is it? Interspersed are entries from her journals, which seem mostly to deal with the question ``Are the children happy?'' Apparently they are: Both go on to college, and a letter from her daughter in the epilogue states, ``I can only be grateful that I had such a strong mother.'' Even after three decades, Lawrence chooses anonymity because ``I am still a felon.'' These revelations challenge credulity, but they remain relevant due to the persistent newspaper headlines over vicious custody battles.

Pub Date: May 31st, 1995
ISBN: 1-878448-63-3
Page count: 222pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1995