TO THE BIRDHOUSE by Cathleen Sehine


Email this review


Mildly amusing comedy of manners--a sequel to the story of the spoiled and offbeat heroine of Schine's 1983 debut, Alice in Bed. All's fight with the world for Alice Brody, who was once hospitalized for a year with a strange hip ailment and devastated by her parents' divorce. Now, her perfect husband doesn't even object when--pursuing her avocation as bird-watcher and her profession as bird-photographer--she jumps out of bed at 7:00 the morning after their Yale Club wedding to check out reports of a Bullock's oriole in Brooklyn's Prospect Park. Of course, she still hasn't forgiven her Anglophile father for marrying a Canadian and wishes that her brother would finally settle down and stop the parade of international girlfriends through his--and the family's--life. (She's especially partial to Yuki, who is using the very assimilated Brody family as part of her study of the Jewish-American family.) Most of all, Alice wants her mother, Brenda, to break up with the sleazy Louis Scifo. When that happens, Scifo obsessively attempts to win Brenda back with violent threats, vandalism, theft, and persecution (which includes putting a black widow spider in her bed), leading the Brodys to huddle together bemused in Brenda's falling-apart (thanks to Scifo's construction activities) Connecticut home, freed only by the novel's happy ending--which reduces Scifo from dangerous sociopath to amusing pest. Shallow treatment with an oh-so-civilized veneer: the novel, like its heroine, is arch, optimistic, and complacent.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1990
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux