The Lion's Share

Rochelle Ratner, Author Coffee House Press $10.95 (176p) ISBN 978-0-918273-87-1
Jana, a curator at a small New York art gallery, is engaged in the artist's eternal struggle for recognition. She enters competitions, spends summers at Yaddo and paints obsessively. She is also 34 years old and a virgin. Traumatized by a doctor's sexual abuse when she was a 10-year-old at camp, she avoids men, instead lavishing attention on her collection of stuffed animals, even cuddling up at night with her pet lion Leroy. When she meets Ed, a kind man to whom she feels increasingly attracted, she tries to liberate herself from her past and accept his love. As she embarks on her most critical struggle--to understand and resolve her childhood trauma and unlock her adult sexuality--she also begins to paint more freely and successfully. Unfortunately, Ratner's ( Bobby's Girl ) writing is stilted, and her characters are fettered in a bland, intellectualized two-dimensionality. Jana's conversations with friends and her own interior monologues are neither sufficiently personal nor sufficiently imaginative to illuminate the process of her healing. Although the premise is worthy, the story never generates enough passion, sexual or otherwise, to be truly satisfying. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1991
Release date: 01/01/1991
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