A GOOD MAN by Judith Henry Wall


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Three high-school chums torment each other with a trip to Manhattan before coming clean about a long-festering secret.

Rhonda, Holly and Gina Kay were the three teen musketeers of the small Texas town of Lamberton. Rhonda, the brain of the group, went on to college and a successful legal career after being forcibly separated from her obsession, high-school boyfriend Terry Robertson. Holly had dreams of fashion fame but has settled for a bustling wedding-gown business in Waco. Gina Kay grew up dirt poor in a manufactured home with loving parents. (Her mother, grossly overweight and in need of constant care, was unable to leave her house.) With Holly and Rhonda’s support, Gina Kay won the Miss American Teenager beauty pageant title—and scholarship. In college, Rhonda started seeing Terry again surreptitiously, even after he tried to kill her by ramming his convertible into a tree. Although he’s heir to a ranching fortune, his dark past and forbidding father have nourished a mean and self-destructive streak. Rhonda and Gina Kay have been estranged since Gina Kay dropped out of college suddenly and eloped with Terry. Cut to the present, when the last of Terry’s many vehicular suicide attempts has succeeded, and the trio gathers at Gina Kay’s ranch after his funeral. There, a pageant event the pretext, the three, in their 40s now, decide to take a Manhattan reunion-and-reconciliation trip. The women befriend their New York City driver, Russian immigrant G.W., ultimately planning a wedding for his daughter in Brighton Beach. Suspense is of the flashback-fueled, wait-and-hurry-up variety, and narrative padding postpones Rhonda’s disappointing assignation with a would-be lover. Worse, Gina Kay refuses to explicate the Terry situation until trip’s end. Along the way, there are large chunks of Manhattan logistics and less-than-convincing apologias for good but dull husbands before getting to the genuinely intriguing questions: What really happened between Gina Kay and Terry, and can Rhonda ever get it out of her system?

A morbidly obese novella.

Pub Date: May 5th, 2005
ISBN: 0-684-87388-5
Page count: 328pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 2005


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