From Publishers Weekly
Continuing the story she began in The Cheerleader , MacDougall traces the life of Henrietta Snow from 1957, when she leaves her New Hampshire hometown and middle-class parents to attend Bennington College, through a crisis in late middle-age. At Bennington, Snowy concentrates on becoming a poet and expanding her realms of knowledge, specifically about dating and sex. Her subsequent life seems satisfying--she has a loving marriage, bears a daughter and publishes several collections of poetry--but Snowy believes her potential remains unfulfilled. She develops agoraphobia and finds herself immersed in her past, analyzing two mercurial childhood friendships and recalling her high school sweetheart. When her depressive husband commits suicide, she finally confronts the toll her illness has taken on her relationships and her poetry. Although often sensitive, this portrait of a woman adrift lacks focus and jars the reader with an awkwardly paced and structured narrative.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
By the author of A Lovely Time Was Had by All (1982) and other stories about happy-to-abrasive mixes and match-ups among friends, lovers, and married couples in small New Hampshire towns: a sequel that chronicles the 30-year career of Henrietta Snow (``Snowy'') from The Cheerleader (1973). In 1957, Snowy, at Bennington College on scholarship, is able to forget about Tom Forbes, her high-school passion, thanks to excitement about college, a great roommate, and heavy thoughts about Life and Sex. There'll be adventures like: the wild, totally naked escape from the Sleepytime Motor Lodge in the car of two outwitted college men; the misery of bringing a sophisticated roommate home to have apple pie (with a slice of Velveeta) with Mom and Dad; and the exhilaration of a first job and living free in the big city (Boston), where at last a rift between Snowy and best friend Bev is healed. Friends marry and move away; then Snowy meets Alan, and it's love and bed at first meeting. Their honeymoon will be a seasick trip to Nova Scotia. The happy gallop of time then turns to a treadmill trot as a daughter is born but parents sicken and die. By 1987, Snowy has published several books of poetry (the author unwisely presents a sample), and Alan, chafing against working for others, owns and operates a general store, where Snowy, now with full-blown agoraphobia, is little help. After a neighbor's Fabulous Fifties Party-- where reconstructing the artifacts and ways of the decade is both dutiful and sadly ridiculous--an unthinkable tragedy occurs. Yet Snowy will survive to find an old promise kept after a mountaintop wedding and reunion of friends and lovers. MacDougal faithfully chronicles the barrage of pleasures and miseries that pepper a life, to the tick of time, among her curiously passive, bright-talking people--attractive and busy but hollow as a drum. With enjoyable period detail. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.