WHY ME? by Leola Mae Harmon

WHY ME?

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A storyline to delight readers of women's magazines: woman loses face in accident, is spurned by immature husband, and marries her dashing plastic surgeon instead. During the Vietnam War, 22-year-old Leola Harmon--late of Circleville, Ohio--was serving as an Air Force nurse in Alaska. Afraid of spinsterhood, she precipitously wed the first guy who seemed to need her; but he drank and had little ambition, so they fought constantly. When a drunken driver smashed up her car and left her with very little face below the eyes, her husband had little stomach for continuing their marriage, despite assurances that plastic surgery would improve things considerably. Enter her savior: a plastic surgeon with vision who is forever admiring her ""courage"" and tossing off lines like, ""We'll be partners, Leo, in an adventure for which I have high hopes."" It took several dozen operations-including a controversial one in which he grafted tissue from her vagina to replace half her upper lip--to make her, it's hinted, prettier than ever; but they labored ""together"" through each one. By the time the major work had been completed and he took her out for her first steak in over a year, seduction and his eventual divorce from his wife were inevitable. Harmon followed him to New York for his residency, then they wed and settled in Des Moines. There are some never-fail items--like a steadfast girlfriend who sees Harmon through the worst and is the first to pick up the ""vibes"" between doctor and patient. But there's also a touch of the offbeat: every so often she hops up on the operating table, instrument tray poised on her stomach, for a nip and a tuck (""You have time for me to do some work?"" he'd ask). For diehard romantics with strong stomachs.

Pub Date: July 23rd, 1982
Publisher: Stein & Day