Perfect Family

Sharon Daley, Author Dutton Books $18.95 (310p) ISBN 978-0-525-24628-2
This intermittently absorbing first novel begins in a California courtroom, where Judith Gregory is being tried for the mercy killing of her gravely ill mother, Margaret. Judith's father, Robert, her daughter Emma, her sister Christine and her brother Edward nervously await a verdict. After this provocative start, the momentum slows as the scene shifts abruptly, traveling back to the time when Robert and Margaret Gregory began raising their children. As pivotal events in their lives unfold, we learn that the perfect Gregory family was not so perfect. Judith, an unmarried mother, has never revealed the identity of Emma's father. Edward, always the bright one, is a secret drinker. Christine's husband committed suicide, leaving his child-like wife pregnant. The resentments the Gregorys hold toward one another are revealed skillfully, but they never become gripping enough to divert the reader from the courtroom drama taking place. Unfortunately, when the narrative returns to the present, readers may be disappointed by the pat and too-sentimental conclusion. (April)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1988
Release date: 04/01/1988
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