Tonner, whose pavane for a Jewish Princess in Nothing But the Best (1975) abounded in stand-up put-downs, now applies the same jokey approach to an unlikely subject for yockeroos--the problem of the ""special child."" Josie Goodman, hammered into passivity by the life-long presence of her celebrity mother (Dr. Maxine Fortunoff, columnist/TV-personality expert on family problems), makes two miserable marriages. First comes Howard the anarchist, who drifts off into TV-watching (she'd ""married Eldridge Cleaver and got Ralph Abernathy""). And then comes Jacob, from a ferociously kosher-keeping family, whose only true feelings are embedded in old movies. But there's no cinema role model for Jacob when he becomes the father of a retarded child--Nicky--and he splits permanently. So life for Josie, fiercely protective of her gloriously unpredictable, messy little tot, is rather lonely. Mother refuses to adjust to Nicky's condition; jobs don't work out; and visiting brother Sid, a Hare Krishna (his head, Mother wails, ""looks like a kneecap""), pulls away from Josie's dependency. At last, through an excellent nursery for special children, Nicky makes the tiny progresses which mean so much, and in one of the novel's few quiet moments, Mother and Josie relinquish their old roles to enjoy a relationship of mutual trust and delight in the special charms of Nicky. A laff palliative for a serious matter--somewhat strained, but studded with bright wisecracks.