From Publishers Weekly
Women are still from Venus and men from Mars in Schieber's strong debut, a paean to the healing power and enduring strength of female friendship. Teachers Jane Hoffman and Gwen Baker have been friends for 19 years, during which time they've helped each other come to terms with their respective childhoods, jointly raised their children and eased the pains inflicted by lovers and husbands. Now Jane finds her husband in bed with a younger woman, her unmarried daughter shows up pregnant and she herself takes up with a younger man. In turn, single mother Gwen contends with her own relationship with a married older man, the loss of her domineering mother and the impending manhood of her teenage boys. The author interweaves scenes from the pastAGwen's youthful marriage to her professor and the traumatic death of her brotherAwith the present, plotting a course for the reader to see how these two women came to be who they are today. Schieber writes with workmanlike directness. One glaring flaw is that none of the men ever seem to have a clue ("He would never understand... what made women love men in spite of the persistent disappointment"), leaving the reader to pity them as they stumble around in a testosterone cloud. Readers looking to parse the mystique of female friendships, however, and why they are sometimes the most satisfying in a woman's life, will find much to reflect on here. Agent, Harvey Klinger.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
A debut novel about two women whose friendship carries them over and through the many crises in their lives. Gwen Baker and Jane Hoffman become best friends. Both schoolteachers in New York City, meet at a Board of Education committee and gradually realize how much they have in common. Gwen's husband Theodore left her some years before, and she now lives with her lover Daniel. Jane discovers her husband Arnold in bed with one of his students and throws him out of the house. Jane's mother Dorothy is dying of cancer, while Gwen's mother Amanda still lives in the South and is cynical about Gwen and her affair with Daniel. Daniel may still be married to Sandy, who still looks after their children. It's not long before Jane begins having an affair with Caleb who's much younger than she is. Her children resent this, especially her daughter Caroline, who has just found out that shes pregnant. Caroline tells Arnold about Jane. Jane and Arnold have to figure out what to do about Caroline. And Gwen has unpleasant memories of something bad that happened to her friend Rowena many years ago when they were both growing up in North Carolina. A soap opera, plain and simple: Schieber seems to think that her characters develop personality by going through one trauma after another. Instead, they become figures on the page with very little life of their own. -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.