In this delightful, laugh-out-loud first novel, Gabe Rose, the brash Jewish waiter with a play in his pocket, is looking for his big chance. Where else to find it but at the gilded, overpriced tables of Boston's fanciest restaurant, where crooked politicians, tight Old Money, preppies, parvenus and, of course, the stars come to dine on yesterday's fish under tonight's hollandaise? Under-30 Gabe contrives to meet over-40 Cynthia Kagan, a tough, sexy playwright-director, big in feminist circles. His high drive is detoured as he finds himself loved and loving, drawn into the variegated, offbeat circle of her extended family, every member with a life and a mouth of his/her own. Plot and character are pas de deux under Wood's fast-stepping, always engaging choreography, but how to explain all the sharp and colorful, emotionally honest, sometimes heart-grabbing ensemble work? There's Cynthia's friend Florence, a maverick socialite, dying of cancer, gallant and astringent as she makes her last days count. There's Gabe's friend Geller, the sellout who marries into a rich, possessive family. There's Gabe's frigid ex-girlfriend the doctor, and Cynthia's spoiled son the law student, Gabe's boss the pederast and Cynthia's seductive young rival. So what if all the married people are brats, saps, or meanies? Everything happens for the jest, but we're there, laughing all the way to the brassy, all out climax. The two leads feel real--Cynthia is worldly, honest, generous, touching; Gabe is good-natured, sexy, savvy, schleppy. They're both a little overweight, but that only makes them more human. Besides the fun, The Kitchen Man is about love and loyalty outside conventional categories of age, gender and body proportions. In sum: the story line may be thin, but what the publisher calls ""a man's feminist novel"" is also a gamey kind of You Can't Take It With You for the 1980's, with extremely recognizable people.