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by Maureen Freely

Pub Date: June 29th, 1993
ISBN: 0-679-41154-2
Publisher: Knopf

 Freely's latest satirical look (after the darkly comic Mother's Helper, 1979; and The Life of the Party, 1984) at modern American moms and dads--this one featuring a bumbling househusband whose marriage is destroyed by his wife's gaggle of terrifying friends. They were young, they were in love, and then they made the twin mistakes of settling into a progressive San Francisco community among rabidly procreating veterans of 60's communes, English departments, and medical schools, and themselves giving birth to not one but two kids of their own. While pregnant with their first--as Mike notes in this booklength confessional letter to Laura, his long-absent wife--they managed to laugh off such questions from fellow birth-class members as ``How many of you people are planning to confine your children inside the bars of a crib?'' But another child and a difficult birth later, Laura's no longer laughing as Mike trips out the front door to pursue his legal career--while she, also a law school graduate, stays home with the kids, the fires of her resentment stoked by the lunatic if ultra-politically-correct members of her mothers' support group. The pressure builds until Mike agrees to stay home himself in an attempt to save his marriage--but this new arrangement only leaves him open to increasingly intimate and neurotic entanglements with Laura's friends. Moved to sympathy and even affection for Charlotte, whose deadbeat husband is about to be audited by the IRS; Ophelia, whose spouse has been sleeping with every female in sight; and Becky, who must constantly overcome the shameful disadvantage of never having graduated from college, Mike attempts to comfort his fellow support group members in the only way he knows how--until his sexual juggling act is revealed, causing a domestic earthquake whose tremors shake up the households of all concerned and that leaves Mike a sadder, if wiser, solitary man. Wickedly funny. (Film rights to Francis Ford Coppola)