PUBLIC GARDEN by James P. Moran


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 On her way home from an abortion she never wanted, a young lawyer pauses in the middle of the Boston Common to shoot her lover, another associate at her firm, wounding him slightly and setting in motion the most anemic courtroom drama in years. Why did Alison Moore, having purchased a handgun two weeks earlier, suddenly turn on Jack Donnelly? A series of brief, but interminable, flashbacks shows Alison's dependence from an early age on men's approval, her despondency over her failure to get work as an actress, and her turning to law school in desperation. Along the way, she had liaisons with a series of users and losers, including Jack, who emerges as cold, selfish, and emotionally sterile. As the trial date looms, Alison's bulldog lawyer, Lee Klein, realizes that everybody, from the anti-abortion activists who've made Alison their latest poster girl to the pro-choice feminists who seek Jack's head on a stick, ``wanted Alison to be a victim''--and so does Lee, because it's the only way she'll get her off. So Lee digs up an expert--evidently the only expert--on post- abortion syndrome and sets out to portray Alison as the helpless victim of Jack's passive abuse. Frozen out by his old colleagues at the firm, wondering forlornly why it's his behavior that's been put on trial, Jack is a sitting duck for Lee's slashing cross- examination. But don't expect any surprises in the courtroom sequences or afterwards. Since this inoffensive first novel never looks very hard at any of the hot-button issues it raises, you realize after a while that nothing is ever going to happen; you're trapped in a Beantown revival of Waiting for Lorena. Living proof that truth is stranger than fiction.

Pub Date: May 11th, 1994
ISBN: 0-517-59606-7
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Crown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 1994


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