Friend of the Family

Natalie Cilona Bates, Author Atheneum Books $16.95 (278p) ISBN 978-0-689-11984-2
This earnest, somewhat stagey but appealing first novel takes another topical dilemma out of the closetthe plight of a woman married to a homosexual. After a decade of marriage and two children, Annie Morrow is very much in love with her ``beautiful'' husband Michael. But more than locale seems to have changed since their move to Los Angeles from New York. Michael has bought an art movie theater with dark, handsome David, who becomes the eponymous family friend. As Michael spends more time at the theater and less time with his family, Annie becomes aware that the men are lovers. She confronts Michael, who admits the truth but, hoping to have the best of both worlds, asks his wife to keep his secret. At first trying to preserve her marriage, Annie experiences some predictably uncomfortable moments: as the only woman at a gay bar and as an unwanted third wheel on a weekend trip to San Francisco. She also has some unexpected (and mostly positive) encounters with lesbian women. Eventually, her mind and body rebel against the strain and she has a breakdown that lands her in the hospital, where she begins to come to terms with her own needs. Doing justice to the nuances of a complex situation, Bates has produced an interesting, sensitive narrative. (August)
Reviewed on: 06/03/1988
Release date: 06/01/1988
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