LIKE MOTHER, LIKE ME by Sheila Schwartz


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Since Jen, Schwartz' 15-year-old narrator, apparently has no identity of her own (as portrayed she has no evident friends, no school life, nor any interests outside of TV), she functions less as the heroine of this forgettable first novel than as a Greek chorus of one, observing and commenting on the disastrous love life of her separated mother. An associate English prof in upstate New York, academically snobbish, man-hungry Mom gets two-timed two times--first by Dad, who takes a sudden sabbatical with an ""adoring undergraduate,"" then by pretentious ""full professor Percy."" To recover, Althea vacations in Miami, where she meets sugar daddy Sam. Then comes Fred, an ex-junkie ex-con turned college student, followed by Henrik, a good-hearted but ""tacky"" (i.e. not college-educated) security guard. When Henrik is killed by a knife-wielding crazy on campus, distraught Althea drags Jen on a swinging singles weekend in the Catskills (that's a cure for depression?) which proves a bust for Mom but nets Jen a cute 18-year-old boyfriend. ""Now. . . it's time for me to stary worrying about myself,"" Jen realizes belatedly. At the end of this decidedly unfunny manhunt Althea starts making clichÉd rem-lib noises, and she doesn't take back Jen's father because she can ""do just fine by herself."" Perhaps ten years ago this might have seemed like a bold move, but most of today's readers will just wonder why it takes her so long to wise up.

Pub Date: April 3rd, 1978
ISBN: 059541804X
Publisher: Pantheon