5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Tiresome tale of one-dimensional characters,
By A Customer
This review is from: Surrender, Dorothy: A Novel (Hardcover)
As a fan of Meg Wolitzer, having loved her other works, I looked forward eagerly to SURRENDER,DOROTHY. Regretfully, I was disappointed. The book takes place over a period of one month, August, as a group of thirty-year-old friends gathers for their annual time in the Hamptons. Although Sara is a doctoral candidate in Japanese history at Columbia, Adam a playwright, Maddy a lawyer, Maddy's husband Peter a teacher, they continue to rent the same filthy run-down hovel they've been renting for years. (Dorm life dies hard.) Horribly, Sara dies in a car accident as she and Adam are on the way to buy ice cream. The rest of the book and the month are attempts by the friends and Natalie, the dead woman's mother, (who inexplicably arrives to spend the time almost in her daughter's place) to come to grips with and cope with the tragedy. That this woman, who refused to allow these friends of many years' standing to attend her daughter's funeral, now feels a need to mingle with them is a trifle far-fetched. Throughout the month, we see how Sara has been thought of as the best friend of both Maddy and Adam. What is most peculiar is not that Sara and Natalie are close friends, but that their relationship is so all-consuming that every detail of their lives is shared - Every bit of each other's life is given up whole to the other - every day. The twisted irony of Sara's having thought at summer's beginning, that she would spend this August trying to disengage from her obsessive relationship with her mother and her mother's asking a young Japanese surfer to translate Sara's notebook and stumbling over "I love her, but sometimes I want her to leave me the hell alone. I mean, enough is enough" are the two most poignant moments in the book. Natalie is real, trying to accept the horrific fact of her child's death; no more will they say "Surrender, Dorothy" at the beginning of each telephone conversation, remembered from a shared passion with THE WIZARD OF OZ. The friends, however, are a trio of self-absorbed superannuated adolescents who, although pushed into the adult world a week early by the house owner's early return (Symbolism here?) don't have a clue.