Email this review


 A sophisticated, naughty tale of a fast-track lawyer's near collapse when her husband sires a child with their spaced-out maid- -told with liberal doses of cynicism and dark-side humor by the author of Uncharted Places (1988), Tender Offer (1986), etc. It was a perfect New York marriage: Fran, the petite European- bred sophisticate, a divorce lawyer with a boyish bob and excellent taste in home decoration, and Charlie, her dreamy physicist husband from the stolid depths of Ohio. Perfect, at least, until they had to go and ruin it all by giving up their rent-controlled apartment on Manhattan's Upper East Side and spontaneously moving to the suburbs. The obvious next step? A baby, of course. But Fran, nearing 40, proves unable to conceive. As the burdens of faulty water-heaters and commuter train schedules begin to weigh tiresomely on the couple's well-upholstered shoulders, Charlie's eye begins to stray toward the kitchen, where Ellie, the scattered but obviously fertile Irish-American maid and mother of two, is haphazardly washing dishes. Before they know it, Ellie's pregnant, and when Charlie proves so proud of his lineage that he begs Fran to join with him and adopt the child, the roof blows off their cozy coexistence. Careers, cherished personal philosophies, and simple decorum go flying out the window as Ellie runs off with her spiritual counselor, Charlie turns househusband and father, and a bitterly resentful Fran hits the rush-hour traffic to support her husband and a child she doesn't love. Before this battle ends, everyone's lives will have been turned inside out a number of times, and Fran will have ended up with both more and less than she ever bargained for. A breath of fresh air in the often sentimental mommy-book genre.

Pub Date: July 30th, 1991
ISBN: 0-525-93316-6
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Dutton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 1991