NO MAMA NO by Verity Bargate


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Galloping post-partum depression in London, with a whining feminist undertone--as Jodie Armitage returns home from hospital with her second son. Trouble is, she desperately wanted a girl. Furthermore, she's angry about her ""two-babies-in-two-years contribution to my femaleness"" and she no longer loves her hideous husband (who ""was born in the missionary position""). She loves him even less when he sends her to loathsome psychiatrist Dr. McCoy--""He and McCoy might as well have raped me."" Jodie's only pleasures: a budding laundromat friendship with a non-sexist young man; and weekly train visits to friend Joy in Brighton, where Jodie dresses her baby boys as girls and calls them ""Willow"" and ""Rainbow""--till husband David catches on and plunks her in a loony bin. Bargate shows an unremarkable but cool, trim style in this first novella, and, when Jodie is at her indisputably craziest, there's a measure of sad, morbid fascination. But more often one gets the creepy feeling that Bargate is endorsing Jodie's skewed viewpoints, her obsessions, her man-loathing, and her self-pity--or at least using them as feminist metaphors. That creepiness, plus a number of alien British references (TV shows, personalities) keeps this debut from being more than, at best, curious and--perhaps--promising.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1978
Publisher: Harper & Row