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Episodes from a suburban marriage--sometimes cheerily daffy in a Bombeckian mode, sometimes merely mild or sentimental. The narrator is 30-ish Genevieve, who decides to start doing things for her Self after ten years of wife/mom servitude. (""Alexander, I make potato salad look easy! . . . Potato salad is hard!"") She finally reads all of Anthony Adverse. She demands time for herself. Furthermore, she decides to write a book; and, for inspiration, she forms a book-discussion group--which supplies the giddiest moments here, with The Aspern Papers sliding into Peter Rabbit while the book club moves, ""unwittingly, to a more difficult level of intimacy."" Unfortunately, however, Genevieve's writing project itself--chapters of which are interspersed--is a disappointment: autobiographical snippets (courtship, first apartment) written in exactly the same style as the rest of the book. Worse yet, about halfway through, Franco starts treating the Genevieve/Alexander relationship more seriously--with platitudinous results: there are some minor jealousies when Genevieve goes to a concert with friend Stanley or befriends a young would-be radical (""The two episodes had taught me a lot, I realized, about the tensions built in to all relationships and the tentative nature of communication""); Alexander must accept his widowed mother's new beau (""He was taking a step toward acceptance, not only of death but also of life""); and when Alexander writes his version of those autobiographical chapters, Genevieve realizes that Alexander has been ""manipulative""--so there will be separations, and apologies, before the blandly upbeat fade-out. A few chuckles, a lot of vanilla-flavored marriage-musings--in a pleasant but repetitious trifle, some of which has appeared in Redbook.

Pub Date: June 2nd, 1982
Publisher: Atheneum