DIVING FOR ROSES by Patricia Windsor


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Diving for roses, and drowning--that's how, toward the end, pregnant, unmarried Jean's nice young doctor diagnoses her recent fear of death and general panic. By then, though, with her previously dependent alcoholic mother in AA, Jean herself venturing out a bit from their stifling house in the woods, and the baby to plan for on her own, she's already on the way up from the near-derangement we witnessed at the start. The pregnancy is a result of a frantic summer affair between the friendless teenager and a young camper she finds ""trespassing"" in her mother's woods, never tries to get to know, and refuses to marry for the baby; it's a bit too much like a sex fantasy, and if Jean's own recognition of this is redeeming, the final impression that the doctor stands ready to fulfill her later, now uncertain, daydream of eventual marriage to him, sounds more like the author's evasion of reality than Jean's. This more than usually interesting author seems consistently to cop out--or at least lose her grip--with endings, and here there are other problems too: we're not always sure, for example, that Windsor is not as infatuated with the purple expressions of anguish as Jean is But none of this can sink a novel that is so much more intensely felt and acidly observant than we expect at this level.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1976
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Harper & Row