Six months after baby makes three for a comfortable Manhattan couple, mother has turned distant and despondent while father is acting borderline delinquent.
Readers may find themselves worrying about the baby, given the not-very-grown-up pair of parents in charge, in Goodman’s debut. The birth of little Clara, the hysterectomy that immediately followed and the endless broken nights have left Veronica moody and manic. Her partner, John, feeling shut out, responds by going AWOL. During one freezing New York weekend, good intentions turn into bad decisions as John disappears with Clara, leaving Veronica to catch up on her sleep and her friends but also to hook up with an old flame. Keen to debate the philosophical as well as psychological implications of increased responsibility and parenting, Goodman narrates her slight, possibly comic, picaresque story alternately from John’s and Veronica’s perspectives, both of them enjoying a sense of liberation in their sudden separation but both transgressing. A little suspense is followed by reunification, an angry aftermath and an eventual decision to move forward, the adults now blessed with improved insight into the sharing of the parental load.
A chamber piece. Goodman can be perceptive, but her morality tale is trite.