A Woman's Life: The Story of an Ordinary American and Her Extraordinary Generation

Susan Cheever, Author William Morrow & Company $20 (254p) ISBN 978-0-688-12194-5
Linda Green, a 1960s hippie who lived on a Vermont commune, took LSD and let herself be pushed into an open marriage by her bullying, pot-smoking first husband, is now a suburban mother of two, a high-school Spanish and French teacher and a Boston lawyer's wife ``settled into a routine that is both conventional and bourgeois.'' But Linda, 46, is no sellout, in Cheever's ( Home Before Dark ) empathic, beautifully controlled portrait. Instead, she is emblematic of ``the average American woman, unrecognized, unknown, and often unappreciated, trying to hold it all together--family, job, health, attractiveness, sanity.'' Daughter of a Brooklyn hat salesman who moved his family to Passaic, N.J., Linda, by this account, was molded by a manipulative mother who instructed her to act as if she were always having fun. After her rebellious first marriage collapsed, she moved in with her former student, Clint Donahue, marrying him in 1978. Despite their considerable difference in age and religion (he's a devout Catholic, she's Jewish), their marriage has weathered crises--in no small measure, Cheever suggests, because of Linda's tireless accommodation to the needs of her husband and two daughters. Author tour. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/30/1994
Release date: 06/01/1994
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