The Divorce

The Divorce

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Product details

  • Paperback | 304 pages
  • 120 x 180mm
  • Random House Children's Publishers UK
  • Corgi Childrens
  • London, United Kingdom
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • 0552120049
  • 9780552120043

Review Text

Davis (Cat Five, Control Tower) suggests that this novel is closely based on a factual case, and a few moments (mostly near the end) do have the creepy tingle of real-life awfulness; generally, however, it's a readable yet uninvolving and often implausible domestic melodrama about superficially drawn, unlikable people. The 40-ish spouses in question are Kent and Louise Morgan of posh Menlo Head, Connecticut: he's a Northeast snob, a status-seeking, appearance-obsessed yacht designer; she's equally well-born and better-heeled, but her Chesapeake breeding is that other brand of upper-class - rough, outdoorsy, with lots of sailing, fishing, hunting, and do-it-yourselfing. So there's conflict here, especially about bossy, boozy Louise's raising of their three girls. And the marriage is doomed once Kent is seduced by promiscuous young Babs Halston (incest-lesbian threesies with Babs' mom): Louise gets suspicious, tempers flare, there's an all-family brawl during a big party (local cops are called in), and they all go off to the Virgin Islands to simmer down and duck the scandal. But Kent finds a new young playmate there, and daughter Cathy catches them flagrante delicto - so full-scale war erupts back home. Louise demolishes Kent's new private tennis court (which she just gave him) and has a tepid affair; Kent plans for ugly divorce - by hiring a demonic lawyer ("Do you want to be a shit, a prick shit, or a prick shit bastard?") who pays a classy prostitute to seduce Louise into a lesbian, videotaped affair. . . which is accomplished with unconvincing ease. Then, however, the whole mess turns suddenly tragic (here's where the real-life frisson comes) when Kent gets a court order to have Louise forcibly evicted - and little daughter Laurie fatally shoots one of the deputies who's dragging her mother away. Court hearings ensue, with perjury on all sides before final confessions. . . . A scenario full of potential - but Davis fails to endow Kent and Louise with the psychological depth needed to make their behavior believable or sympathetic; he voyeuristically emphasizes, instead, the sexual goings-on, the lawyerly ruthlessness, and the rich-life backdrops. Result: an easy-reading but forgettably two-dimensional shocker that only very occasionally hints at the social and human textures behind a tabloid scandal. (Kirkus Reviews)show more