Tangled Vines

Mary Jane Roberts, Author Mercury House $16.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-916515-16-4
Lonnie Burke is 61, a well-to-do widow living in Northern California. She is also an artist, a mother and an alcoholic. Responsible for a near-fatal car accident, Lonnie is committed to a hospital by her daughter Jill to dry out. But she quickly signs herself out and returns home, bringing with her another patient, a stroke victim named Connie. After some false starts, Lonnie begins the long journey to sobriety and self-awareness, during which she calls repeatedly on the understanding and patience of an old friend, Nikos, a sculptor. Lonnie's life is full of regret and self-loathing: her marriage was empty; she is estranged from her daughter; her painting is lifeless; she fears she isn't able to love. While Connie's condition deteriorates, Lonnie works hard at accepting herself, and the love that Jill and Nikos both offer. There is much worthwhile material here, but Roberts's sensitivity to Lonnie's struggles is undermined by cliche situations (births and deaths are portentously simultaneous), shallow characterization and an unrelieved tone of naive eagerness. (March 16)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1987
Release date: 01/01/1987
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