Woman on the verge of self-realization hits the road, in the second of this ilk by DBR Media syndicated columnist Radish (The Elegant Gathering of White Snows, 2002).
Meg Fratano’s comfortable suburban world explodes when she glimpses her husband Bob in flagrante delicto with a woman sporting geranium-hued toenails. Appalled by her initial voyeuristic reaction, she seeks solace and bottomless martinis chez Elizabeth, the first of many wise women who will ferry Meg on her journey to feminist reawakening. Interspersed with Meg’s first-person narrative are flashbacks in which various spirit guides in the past—her spinster Aunt Marcia; a sadistic nun; pre-title IX girl athletes, an adulterous neighbor—strive to warn Meg off her womanly destiny of self-abnegation. Meg ignores their message points (though the reader can’t) and bucks the system only enough to become a sociology professor at the University of Chicago. Two great kids and a 25-year marriage later, Meg, pushing 50, fails to notice the signs of marital atrophy. How could she? Bob is so thinly portrayed that when he’s not romping with geranium-toes in the master bedroom, he seems like a perfectly nice guy. Lucky for Meg, Aunt Marcia, long dead, left her a peachy setup in Mexico, complete with dancing dogs, happy peasants, a kindly ranchero and his hottie son. Oh, and a foundation benefiting women to lend some gravitas. All Meg has to do is get in a rusting Jeep driven by Harrison Ford’s female twin and find that petal-strewn rock palace that’s been created just for her. Imagine, but for her husband’s twithood, she’d still be stewing in a vat of subdivision normalcy. Sure, no one beats Marilyn French and Marge Piercy at this genre, but at least Radish’s stock characters know how to have a good time on their way to matriarchal Nirvana.
Likely to appeal to the red hat crowd, but may annoy those with low tolerance for New Age blather.