JOANNA'S HUSBAND AND DAVID'S WIFE by Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey
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A wife mulls, glooms, and exults in her journal covering 25 years of marriage to the man she loves, while the husband, in the present, breaks in with (italicized) quips and commentary. An oddly synchronized rap session--pointing up inevitable squalls on domestic seas (money, in-laws, etc.) plus the wife's struggle toward a guiltless, independent identity--by the author of the more subtly illuminating A Woman of Independent Means (1978). Beginning with the off-and-on courtship of hot-tempered, aspiring playwright David Scott and thrilled Joanna, who is from a secure, well-to-do Texas family, Joanna's journal will chronicle their marriage through: fertile and dry periods and various places--Texas, Connecticut (Yale), Rhode Island, Greenwich Village, Hollywood; the brief highs and seemingly endless lows of David's career until the more or less steady income from screen and TV writing; and Joanna's creative emergence and jump-to-fame with one novel. Over the years there'll be two daughters born, the comings and goings of friends with their own triumphs and tragedies, and conflict with and, later, a richer understanding of parents. Throughout, Joanna and David wrestle with snags in their relationship. David had always wanted Joanna to ""unlock passions. . .to stand up for her rights, to value what made her unique."" But for Joanna, overwhelmed, ""The only thing left for me to control is my feelings."" Joanna's identity problem will bumble along for years (""I wanted things to happen to me""), but when David's career sun is no longer shining, he thinks: ""I could no longer cast a shadow big enough"" for Joanna to live happily in. Joanna, now more successful than David, struggles with the guilt trap and, at the age of 45, is off to Texas to have another baby, David following because, as he writes to his daughter, ""I don't trust your mother to write an ending without me."" Although David's rebuttals and meditations are lively enough, Joanna's reading of ""the meter as it ran"" lacks the color and intimacy of that Woman of Independent Means' letters. Still, this marital counterpoint of perhaps too ordinary people is intermittently amusing as a plug for more gutsy gab between partners.

Pub Date: March 7th, 1986
Publisher: Delacorte