Little, Brown; Feb 2001; 24.95; 288 pp.
Nearing fifty, divorcee Maggie Crown reluctantly agrees to serve as a surrogate mother so her sterile daughter and son-in-law can have the child they want. Maggie really does not want to carry a child for nine months as she relishes her independence and return to scientific research. However, Dale manages to make Maggie feel guilty especially using the weapon of maternal failure.
However, the birth of the child fails to prove to be the panacea that Dale expected. In spite of everyone's willingness to help Dale, she wants nothing to do with the care of the child and her neglect is very dangerous to the well being of the helpless baby. The delinquent father is not any better, choosing a “quality” affair with one of his highs school students. Maggie feels guilty, but believes she must step in to begin nurturing the second child she brought into the world even at the cost of losing her selfish first child.
KINSHIP THEORY is an intriguing novel that raises complex questions and intelligently does not provide pat answers. The story line is deep and well written, but the key characters aside from the newborn are so ego-centered, readers feel nothing but disdain for them. The lack of a redeeming value for the new parents and to a lesser degree the martyr Maggie hurts a powerfully intelligent relationship drama that leaves fans pondering the social issues raised by Hester Kaplan.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner