Five months in and out of a private mental hospital pass pleasantly enough for the reader if not for Judith, ""thirty-three going on twelve,"" a fairly uncomplicated neurotic given to crying fits and, at the onset of her stay, loss of speech. She has been unloved--in her childhood and then by her actor husband Tom, who's been turned off by her alleged frigidity and turned on to another woman. After the first adjustments, the hospital seems just right as Judith graduates to the more permissive floors, acquires friends, sculpts and paints, plays bridge and volleyball. She begins to feel free, ""in,"" very female. And there is Jack, with his loving acceptance and gruff pleasures, soon to be the crux of her existence, and with whom she will have the ultimate sexual experience until the hospital (finally catching on) forces him to leave. Judith regresses, but at last recovers to take hold of life (without Jack, without Tom), a life devoted to work and son Jamie. The author watches the patients with a canny and compassionate eye, and the atmosphere of the hospital--a kind of prep school ambiance, secure with warders, friends, plots, and stolen sweets--is convincing. A hummingbird's nest of minor but agreeable insights.