Email this review


 From the veteran Piercy (He, She, and It, 1991, etc.): an old- fashioned heartwarmer with a feminist agenda and a leavening of schmaltz that'll get the hankies out for a sentimental cry along the way. Set in Boston and environs, the story begins in late October as three disparate women whose longings for the ordinary (decent homes, faithful husbands, better lives) have been thwarted by men each confront an approaching crisis. Leila Landsman, who writes about abused women, fears that her long marriage to theater director Nick is again in trouble; Mary Burke, a former suburban matron turned homeless housecleaner, worries about surviving the winter; and Becky Burgess, daughter of a poor fisherman, is in prison awaiting trial for the murder of her husband. In turns, the women recall their pasts as they deal with the present. Leila, realizing that philandering Nick will never change, prepares for divorce. She has also agreed to write a book about Becky's upcoming trial--which leads us to Becky and nice young Sam, her reluctant partner in crime. Sam's uncle Zak, initially hostile to Leila, soon becomes her lover; he is also a veterinarian, useful for kind Leila's coterie of stray cats. Ambitious Becky, who worked and schemed to improve her life, married Terry because he seemed to have everything she wanted--until he lost his job and found another woman. A fighter to the end, though found guilty, she plans her escape. And Mary, who cleans Leila's house and is the least convincing of the trio, remembers how her life was destroyed when her husband left her; she's injured in a fire, then is saved by Leila, who sends her to live with sister Debbie in sunny California. Leila, though now living alone, rejoices: ``at last I am my own woman.'' Despite some unnecessary speechifying on the big issues: a gripping and affecting story, dominated by Becky, a real original. (First printing of 75,000)

Pub Date: March 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-449-90907-7
Page count: 464pp
Publisher: Ballantine
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 1993


FictionSEX WARS by Marge Piercy
by Marge Piercy
FictionTHE THIRD CHILD by Marge Piercy
by Marge Piercy
NonfictionSLEEPING WITH CATS by Marge Piercy
by Marge Piercy