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WOMEN LIKE US by Erica Abeel


by Erica Abeel

Pub Date: Feb. 23rd, 1994
ISBN: 0-395-62150-X
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Ignore the cover copy: The Group it's not. Still, Abeel's glib chronicle of the not-so-surprising lives of four friends from Sarah Lawrence's Class of `58 has its entertaining moments as heiresses take to the streets and ugly ducklings win fortune and fame. Daisy Frank arrived at Sarah Lawrence on a dance scholarship, yet she soon dropped Martha Graham in favor of a pieced-together writer's life that reflected little of her early promise. Such is the fate of her three close friends as well: saintly blond Franca Broadwater, plain-faced Ginny Goldberg, and glamorous Delphine Mortimer, a red-maned heiress known for her command to ``unhook our bras and talk about Wittgenstein.'' Despite the foursome's big plans for leading grand, unconventional lives, the passage of years and the assumption that ``art was just an exalted form of occupational therapy; you didn't sacrifice romance on its account,'' manage to thwart them again and again. Delphine's ambition to run a publishing company is realized by age 32, only to crumble as she gives up her career to follow her husband to Houston. When Franca's marriage dissolves in the face of her husband's swinging-60's infidelities, she marries her divorce attorney for the sake of the children, knowing full well that he's always adored Daisy, her best friend. Daisy herself toils for years in a publishing house before an affair with a wealthy older man leads to marriage on the rebound and finally a meager existence as a divorced mother of two. Only Ginny enjoys long-lasting success, first as a women's magazine journalist and then as a morning TV show hostess—but even she encounters heartbreak as her much-loved husband dies. All four friends have seen the depths by the time they reunite at their old school 30 years later. Tolerable entertainment; the least credible move by Abeel (The Last Romance, 1985) is to see to it that all four messy lives are tidied up nicely by the end.