THE AFTERNOON WOMEN by Laol Tucker Wertenbaker


Email this review


Why on earth should the unwilling have the unwanted?"" The unwilling are the biologically trapped mothers-to-be in what is a legally, and in many cases, ethically, sacrosant situation and this is the inflammable issue of Mrs. Wertenbaker's novel. She pursues it, as one might expect, intimately, fervently, preempting one's sympathies from start to finish. Daly Hill has a minimal practice of pregnant women in a small town in North Carolina; they're his morning patients. But his afternoon women come from all over--they need an abortion, and he's been taking care of them ever since the death of his daughter (at an abortionist's dirty hands) about ten years before--a death he's been expiating ever since. He's a good man. Now with three women in his waiting room (Nora Fanning, 49, widowed; Dane Castleready, a psychotic gal; Mary Dee Lawn who has four babies at home) he's about to face an inspection of his cellar clinic. Up until now he's had the protection of the town, to the extent that his wife has never known what he's been doing. Well, with retrospective fillers on Daly's life, on those of the patients, etc. and along with a pressured move to a farmhouse outside of town, this processes most of the clinical facts and moral arguments of abortion all the way from the psychiatrist's couch to the obstetrician's table.... Only for women, only for some women, but certainly a great many are open to the latent persuasion of her argument that doing the right thing may not necessarily be a good thing. In any case, the novel is rampantly readable.

Publisher: Little, Brown