Top critical review
13 of 14 people found this helpful
on September 17, 2003
This is a good debut novel. The concept is intriguing - a chameleon-like man who changes identities to match the women he marries, preys upon their weaknesses, and changes their lives. The portrays of the women were fascinating, well-drawn and sympathetic - I really rooted for Birdie in the beginning, hoping she would recover from Ken and move on, and then felt increasingly sad and frustrated when it became clear she would not recover. Joan, the second wife, became ill and never had the chance to recover, and finally Dinah, the third wife, made the triumphant recovery. The weakness of the book was Ken - why on earth were these women so lovestruck with a man who was a bad lover, no companion, had horrible table manners, uninteresting, a liar...Birdie I could understand, but Joan's obsession just didn't quite work, and Dinah's just seemed unbelievable - she was almost contemptuous of him throughout the marriage, but she stayed, and stayed, and stayed. And finally, I felt the ending was weak because it made him too one-dimensionally evil - even destroying his business success. He would have been more interesting had he been shown as more of a person and less of a caricature.