COMING BACK UP by Suzanne Lipsett


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First novelist Lipsett, in an easy first-person confessional style, focuses on the life crises of a California career woman, pregnant from a violent rape, as she is forced to make decisions determining the future of her own life and that of her (unwanted?/wanted?) unborn child. The life of Lonnie Mathias, a commercial artist, changed forever the night three men--two black, one white--entered her Berkeley apartment, beat and raped her. Discovering the dazed Lonnie is her older sister Dana--once the lovely and oddly promiscuous Big Sister, now failed in marriage and motherhood, who has moved in with Lonnie for makeshift ""family"" support. Lonnie endures the series of psychic violations involved in the police investigation, and ponders the ""hatred"" she saw in the eyes of black attackers: ""Why had they hated me?. . . There must be a reason. One looks for it inside oneself."" Despondent, unable to work, unable to bear a man's touch--although neighbor Richard has been gently considerate--Lonnie now finds she's pregnant. Can she face the abortion, ""allow herself to be handled anymore""--in spite of the insistence of a doctor, a kind rabbi, her elderly parents? Dana and, curiously, Richard--each in a way also a victim of hatred--plan for a baby. It is in court at the trial of her attackers that Lonnie scrutinizes the people who are perhaps the black families of her child, and it is within one that salvation for Lonnie--and the child--will come. Lipsett's solution to Lonnie's dilemma rests on some stiff message-bearing subordinate characters and some rushed happenstances. However, the matter of pregnancy due to rape, its many problems and anguished solutions, is of on-going interest. A hot subject, easy-over.

Pub Date: Nov. 21st, 1985
Publisher: Atheneum