BORN by Gertrude Schweitzer


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This is a story which might very well be classified simply as ladies' magazine fiction (it is a woman's book) were it not for the credibility of its characters and the intelligence of the author's observations. Its main event is inherently dramatic and is very similar to an actual case; a custody fight for an adopted child. But the overall story concerns Liz Banion, (the very name belongs in the ladies' magazines), her family, and the development of her marriage with Tommy, a promising and then successful architect. Liz and left her Catholic faith (though she married in the Church to conceal the fact from her parents) and when, after four years of marriage, she and Tommy decided to adopt a child they managed it privately through Liz's mother who worked at a Catholic foundling hospital. When their daughter was four years old the child's mother sued for her custody claiming that the Banions, having become Unitarians, adopted the child illegally. After considerable legal and religious argument (during which Liz seems to be more the college debater than the harassed mother, though it's in keeping with the character) the Banions win the right to keep their child. The end of the trial also marks the end of an affair Liz had been having with their lawyer. There's a particularly revolting but interesting characterization of Liz's brother, Joe, who wanted to be a priest but gave it up for what he called ""the pleasures of the flesh"". Joe, a guilt-ridden pious hypocrite, had managed over the years to warp his son's personality (the boy becomes a psychopath), wreck his marriage, nearly ruin the Banion's case and destroy himself. If the ingredients which go into the story are not particularly elevating neither are they merely sordid. It's a controlled and very readable book.

Pub Date: July 15th, 1960
Publisher: Doubleday