When Susan Kidd's husband turns on her in another drunken rage, she can no longer deny the truth: Jim is an alcoholic and she must escape before his violence spreads to their seven-year-old son Robbie. Jim has threatened to take Robbie from her if she requests a divorce, so a fearful Susan quietly decides to leave the state.

During long and numerous bus rides, Susan and Robbie Kidd disappear and Star and Max Kaiser are born. Without skills, Star finds it difficult to obtain work, but new friend Micaela helps her get a cleaning job and obtain new documentation.

Jim Kidd is angry and desperate. He must find Susan, for only then will he feel back in control of his world. When the police don't find her, Jim hires a private investigator.

For Lieutenant Roberts, Susan's case has become a quest. He knows Susan was abused and wants to help. But Susan has crossed state lines, and the FBI may soon get involved. Running away may have bought Susan time, but only by facing the past can she create a future for herself and Robbie.

BECOMING details the personal growth and development of not only an abused wife, but her entire family. Notwithstanding the range of emotions and complexity of the plot, I experienced a slight feeling of detachment in the novel. This emotionally charged and complex novel will nevertheless delight Ms. Lanigan's many fans. (June, 400 pp., $5.99)

Reviewed by: 
Jill M. Smith