THE OTHER WOMAN by Ellen Lesser


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A rueful cautionary tale about the perils of a woman involved with a married man. It's the same old story and first-novelist Lesser doesn't add much that's new here--except in her attempt to have Jennifer, her 26-year-old heroine with an ultra-short haircut, be spunkier and punkier than the average ""other woman."" Still, Jennifer gets something more than she bargained for when her lover, Richard, leaves his wife, Ruth Ann, and moves into Jennifer's farmhouse, complete with baggage and two small sons who visit regularly. Weekend by weekend, Richard turns into finicky superdaddy and lets Jennifer know she doesn't measure up. She can't change a diaper. She uses naughty language in front of the boys. She doesn't take time to enjoy their company. The list of her inadequacies goes on and on. Then there's wife Ruth Ann, who decrees that Jennifer may not be in the car when Richard drops off or picks up the children. So Jennifer is put out of her own car to pace on a cold street corner each week while Richard disappears into his wife's house. The big question, though, is why it takes Jennifer many months--and some 200 pages--of all this to say enough is enough. There may be some good times in this relationship, but Lesser is stingy about revealing them. Her story seems to be only half a story--it's been whittled down to sticks, stones, and the broken bones of a marriage. After scene upon scene of slights, pouts, and hard feelings, we begin to wonder just who is having a good time here. Not poor, once-plucky Jennifer. Not guilt-ridden Richard. Not even gloating, embittered Ruth Ann. And, sadly, not Lesser's readers either.

Pub Date: May 31st, 1988
Publisher: Simon & Schuster