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THE HUNGER MOON by Suzanne Matson


by Suzanne Matson

Pub Date: July 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-393-04099-2
Publisher: Norton

 A single mother finds love and commitment with a little help from her women friends in this winsome, rather bland first novel by a Boston-based poet. Renata Rivera is fond of her handsome blond boyfriend, a bartender named Bryan, but his lack of dependability--and the terrible childhood that she's sure has permanently scarred him--is what she thinks about after she learns he's made her pregnant. Herself a product of irresponsible parenting, 26-year-old Renata opts to keep the baby but quit her waitressing job in Venice Beach, California, and move in with her divorced sister in Oregon until she gives birth--without informing the father. Shortly after Charlie is born, Renata leaves her sister as well, drifting across America by car until she settles, more or less arbitrarily, in Boston. There, she strikes up a friendship first with Eleanor, the well-bred 78-year-old widow who lives in the apartment next door, and then, after taking another waitressing job, with her babysitter, June, a pretty college student who dreams of becoming a professional dancer. Against a lulling background of bringing-up- baby trivia (Renata learns to breast-feed, gets Charlie to sleep in his crib, feeds him solid foods, etc.), the three women form a limited but genuine connection that offers them solace at a time when Eleanor is struggling with her weakening faculties, June is battling a serious eating disorder, and Renata is making her first forays into life as an independent working mom. When Bryan turns up in Boston, having learned of his son's existence, the women fear their tidy world will be destroyed. In the end, though, his appearance provides a catharsis that allows each of the three friends to deal with their private fears. Charming, but the low-key, bedtime-story tone may send some readers nodding off. (Author tour)