A mother tracks down the daughter she gave up for adoption 36 years earlier--a story that might be guaranteed wet-hanky material for Oprah or Donahue, though in this winningly wry and dry-eyed first novel, Lipman (stories: Into Love and Out Again, 1987) gives it a brand-new take. April Epner, happily raised by her now. dead adoptive parents, has never wasted much time being curious about the woman who gave birth to her: ""My biological mother was seventeen when she had me in 1952, and even that was more than I wanted to know about her."" Enter Bernice Graverman, star of a local TV talk show and natural mother of April Epner. It's not exactly love-at-first-sight when the prima donna mother, who wears ""wet-look white eyeshadow,"" arranges a reunion with her unassuming daughter, who teaches high-school Latin and favors Indian-print cotton jumpers. But it isn't unrelieved animosity either. Lipman plays it beautifully--right along the edge--as the two women grapple and blunder their way into each other's lives. Bernice tells whoppers about the identity of April's father, and April doesn't let her get away with it. April stiffly denies that her childhood was ever anything but rosy, and Bernice doesn't let her get away with it. Bit by bit they clear a path to the heart of matters and, as they do, their lives change. April falls in love; Bernice learns a few lessons about living with reality. And, finally, they realize they fit each other--not always comfortably, not without some squirming, but, really, not so differently from most mothers and daughters. Funny, moving, and very wise in the way of life: April and Bernice outshine anything on prime time.