Frank Griffin's comfortable married life on the outskirts of Chicago becomes anything but when Ellen, his wife of 10 years asks for a divorce. But Griffin is unwilling to move out and lose touch with his 8-year-old daughter, Zoe.
Agreeing to live as roommates, their trial separation is fraught with pain, as Griffin tries to cope with Ellen going on dates, and Zoe can't understand why her parents fail to communicate. While Ellen's desire for a younger man was the main reason she wanted the divorce, her need for time for herself causes her to move out and find a small apartment.
The slowly revealed underlying reasons for Ellen's unhappiness provide some justification for her succumbing to an affair. But she exudes a self-centeredness that makes her a somewhat unlikable character. The pain of self-discovery, as Griffin and Ellen learn the foibles of a failing marriage, seems to exude a realism— especially in its impact on Zoe. The ups and downs of their renegotiation of their relationship, whatever it may be, lend believability to this thought-provoking read. (Jun., 272 pp., $24.95)