Maynard, long proclaimed by the media to be the spokesperson for the baby-boomer generation, may have finally grown into that role here--in a novel about divorce, love, and raising children that hits home harder than anything she's pitched at us before (To Die For, 1992, etc.). Claire, almost 40 and the mother of two adolescents, ended her marriage because she didn't feel sufficiently appreciated. ""I need to feel there's somebody on the face of this earth who just plain adores me,"" she tells her ex-husband now. And that's what she goes looking for. First, she finds Mickey, a southern charmer who can catalogue the many ways he loves her. Unfortunately, what he doesn't love is the idea of helping to raise her children. Next, there's Tim, divorced father of seven-year-old Ursula, a troubled, overweight, needy child. Tim worships Claire, and, for a while, he seems the answer to everything she's wanted, despite the complications of snooping children, guidance counselors, and ex-spouses. But, eventually, Claire discovers that being worshipped isn't enough--or, confusingly, perhaps it's too much. Maynard does a fine job of revealing the many complications and confusions inherent in this point in life, including cynical teenagers and the practical intrigue of sex after divorce: Where and how to have it in a house full of kids? And what about your stretch marks? Having been a media darling in her teens, Maynard has always tended to take herself a mite seriously, and she hasn't entirely recovered from that. In an introduction, she offers for sale an independent CD of her favorite songs ""out of a belief that introducing readers to the music I love will enhance the experience of my work...."" Music notwithstanding, her writing has come of age here. Claire learns to face her own faults, and her story is funny, tender, and true. Older and wiser: Maynard's best yet.