Kirkus Reviews QR Code
MAUD GONE by Kathleen Rockwell Lawrence



Pub Date: July 1st, 1986
Publisher: Atheneum

Booze not Brioschi relieves the minor case of ""heartburn"" chronicled in this first novel, an affable tale of upscale-Manhattan marital infidelity. Though Lawrence initially rivals Nora Ephron in depicting the utter baseness of the male species, her heroine's man-hating rant--the understandable result of her pregnancy-induced paranoia--becomes in the end a warm and sensible meditation on marriage and motherhood among self-described baby-boomers. After 10 years of childless but happy wedlock, Jack and Maud Devlin begin the bumpy road to parenthood with a near-catastrophic detour on Jack's part. Only days before the blessed event, ""the devil in Mr. Devlin"" reveals itself when he tumbles into bed with his wife's Painless-Birthing instructor--a blond and buxom Scandinavian beauty who's into good and guilt-free sex. For two guilt-ridden Irish Catholics brought up in the dark years before Vatican II, this single lapse has dire consequences. Two days before her water breaks, Maud moves in with her old college friend Johanna, a ""manizer"" who used to seduce young Jesuits, and who now has eyes for the mystery man who gallantly rescues the mom-to-be from her late-night wandering through the city streets. When the new mother, who was named for Yeats' Maud Gonne, returns to Johanna's with child, it becomes a question of whether this Maud will soon be ""gone""--as in bonkers. Family and friends eventually convince this unwilling member of the sorority called motherhood that kids and men--no matter how low the latter may sink--can be fun, pure and simple. This breezy novel asks the question: How can a man be faithful in a city where women hold man-sharing seminars? The growing-up-Catholic shtick and the silly attempts to periodize the background narrative don't detract from an otherwise likable book.