To the Birdhouse

Cathleen Schine, Author
Cathleen Schine, Author Farrar Straus Giroux $17.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-374-27828-1
Reviewed on: 03/31/1990
Release date: 04/01/1990
The eponymous heroine of the praised Alice in Bed has left the hospital for the parks of New York in her new career as photographer and art director of an obscure bird-watching magazine. Having married Peter, an appealing, laid-back analyst of baseball statistics, Alice remains bemused and exasperated by her divorced, spacy, ``hideously cheerful'' mother, psychologist Brenda Brody, who is still romantically involved with sleazeball Louie Scifo. Brenda attempts to break off with him, when Louie begins a bizarre campaign of harassment which infuriates the Brody clan as thoroughly as it tickles the reader. Schine gently satirizes one wacky family and other metropolitan- and suburbanites in a series of confrontations between an increasingly demented Louie and Alice's extended family, including her charming but feckless brother, her grandmother who tells risque jokes and her remarried father, whose marital life disconcertingly mirrors his daughter's. Schine's rueful wit, more kindhearted here than in Alice , animates this beguiling contemporary comedy of manners. (Apr.)
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