Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Sugar Mother-Elizabeth Jolly

The Sugar Mother
Elizabeth Jolly
Persea, Nov 9 2010, $15.00
ISBN: 9780892553624

Obstetrician Dr. Cecilia Page takes leave from her medical practice for a year in Europe on a fellowship grant. Her fifty-four years old husband Edwin, a professor, remains behind in Australia as he has commitments.

A milquetoast, Edwin meets the new neighbors, twenty-something Leila Botts and her outrageous mother. He is attracted to the younger Bott, but before he knows what happened, mother and daughter are locked out of their home. He invites them to move in with him. Mrs. Botts the elder suggests Leila serve as Edwin’s "sugar" mother, which, in between panting and forgetting he has a spouse soon to come home (that is if Cecilia does not extend again), but he acquiesces to the fantasy.

This is a reprint of a jocular 1988 character study of a middle age man going through a personal crisis while his wife is overseas. Edwin is a fascinating lead protagonist who will remind readers of the Tom Ewell character in the Seven Year Itch as the audience wonders what is running wild in his imagination and what is real as Leila is his Marilyn Monroe. Fans will appreciate this deep look at the serious significance of the basic human need for relationships, but done in the author’s Jolly satirical manner.

Harriet Klausner

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