MORE THAN ALLIES by Sandra Scofield


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 The glue of female friendship--sticky in unexpected ways--is the focus of this fourth novel by Scofield (Walking Dunes, 1992, etc.), who has written with skill in the past about stark western settings and the even starker emotional lives of her youngish characters. Maggie first enters the Jarrett household in Lupine, Oregon, as a teenaged foster child. Within several years, she's married to the Jarretts' son, Mo, and the mother of a small son, Jay. Later, following the birth of daughter Stevie, Mo wants to move to Texas, where he can find better job opportunities, but Maggie is loath to leave home and the security of her foster mother, now mother-in- law, Polly. Mo goes; Maggie stays--and unhappiness reigns. Meanwhile, living nearby in Lupine is Dulce, a Mexican-American whose husband--also in Texas--has recently been released from prison. Dulce's world intersects with Maggie's only at certain points. Their sons know each other, and Dulce cleans house for the more hoity-toity women in Maggie's book group. Eventually, Maggie and Dulce find themselves linked in more supportive ways, and the two women help each other move forward--or at least move on toward Texas. Scofield sketches memorable characters here, and her clear prose is a pleasure. But on certain levels, her message breaks down. The upper-class book-group women are exquisitely limned in their awfulness, but the moral appears to be that Maggie and Dulce, by mere virtue of their humbler backgrounds, are superior souls. This belittles what we already know of their complicated, flawed- -and wonderfully human--souls. Some beautifully carved pieces that never quite fit together to complete the puzzle.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 1-877946-32-X
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Permanent Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 1993


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