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by Jean Hegland

Category: Fiction / General
352 pages; ISBN: 0743470079

Rating: 8/10  (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner


Jean Hegland
Atria, Apr 2004, $25.00, 352 pp.
ISBN: 0743470079

Renowned photographer Anna Walters loves her work, delights in being wife to college professor Eliot and raising their daughter Lucy. Her only blight is the abortion she once had. However, her idyllic lifestyle begins cracking when Eliot fails to attain tenure. Anna goes through a difficult birthing of their second child. As baby Ellen remains in intensive care, Anna becomes deeply depressed and has nightmares about the child that never was adds to her misery and self loathing.

When Cerise became pregnant in high school, she dropped out to raise her daughter Melody alone as the father Sam moved on to some other teen. To provide food and shelter, she works as a cleaning woman at a nursing home. Cerise liked her life with her little buddy, but lately an adolescent Melody has become disrespectful, nasty, and hangs with a bad crowd. Like her daughter who has found solace in promiscuous sex and drugs, Cerise has an affair that leads to a newborn Travis. As she struggles to earn money once welfare to work kicks in and takes her off the roles, Melody runs away and Travis dies in a fire. Not long afterward Cerise meets and commiserates with fellow lost soul Anna.

Though the action is nonexistent, WINDFALLS is a profound look at motherhood, but not through an apple pie lens. Instead, the two protagonists are undergoing difficult trials and tribulations that would test Job. The story line contains the two subplots that merge when the lead characters meet. Secondary players are not as fully developed as Anna and Cerise as they only serve the purpose of enabling the audience to scrutinize modern day moms trying to mentally survive.

Harriet Klausner


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