Playgrounds

Alan Gelb, Author Putnam Publishing Group $19.95 (300p) ISBN 978-0-399-13277-3
This loose, meandering novel by the author of Columbus Avenue covers a year in the lives of seven young New York professional couples whose children attend the same well-run daycare center on Manhattan's Upper West Side. The intertwined story lines cover a wide spectrum of the problems that plague contemporary couples: infertility, illness, infidelity and chronic feelings of guilt about leaving their children in the care of someone else. Louise Dowell, a topnotch researcher working on a cure for AIDS, has left her husband Bill, allowing him to keep their two young children and to drift into an affair with Trina, one of the workers at the center. Corrine and Patrick McIver struggle to cope with a Down's Syndrome child and severe medical problems resulting from Corrine's new pregnancy. While his wife Olivia supports the family, blocked writer Sam Sloan begins an affair with Nancy, whose husband is always on the road. The center's equally troubled staff shares the parents' fears for their children's safety and health, fears that become stark reality in the story's riveting conclusion. However, the book's impact is considerably diminished by stretching too many characters too thin. (May 21)
Reviewed on: 05/01/1987
Release date: 05/01/1987
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