Weiner (Good in Bed, 2001; In Her Shoes, 2002) follows four Philadelphia women as they face the challenges, from trivial to profound, of new motherhood, becoming friends in the process.
Becky, Kelly, and Ayinde meet at a pregnancy yoga class. At the same time, Lia, an actress who has returned home to Philly to come to grips with her baby’s death, begins following Becky around and leaving her baby gifts (Weiner overlooks the stalker-creepiness of this behavior) until she joins the friendship circle as a kind of emotional counterweight to keep the others’ problems in perspective. In Weiner’s symmetry, each woman starts out with an issue and each faces a challenge. Lia’s challenge is obviously her loss; her underlying issue is her mother’s emotional coldness. Becky’s issue is weight. A restaurant owner married to a nice Jewish doctor, Becky’s challenge is her obnoxious, overbearing mother-in-law. Overachieving Kelly’s issue is the poverty she has overcome. An event planner who has orchestrated her life for maximum security, Kelly is thrown a curve when her husband gets laid off from his corporate job and becomes a couch potato. For Ayinde, beautiful and from a privileged background as the daughter of an actor and a model, being biracial has been a lifelong struggle. Now her basketball star husband is slapped with a paternity suit by another woman. But love conquers all. Becky’s husband miraculously grows a spine and quits being a mama’s boy. Kelly and her husband learn to communicate and support each other in following their real professional dreams. Ayinde’s husband proves he is a devoted father, and his former paramour visits Ayinde to assure her how much he really loves Ayinde. Lia finds peace with her loss, realizes that her mother has always loved her, and reunites with her husband.
After her realistic examination of new motherhood and marital strain, Weiner pulls her punches with a too-neat ending.