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Fielding, Joy.

Toronto, Doubleday, c1986. 303pp, cloth, $19.95, ISBN 0-385-19847-7. CIP

Grade 12 and up
Reviewed by Margaret MacLean

Volume 14 Number 4
1986 July

The deep end of the title refers to a partially constructed backyard pool and the deep end of experience. Obvious? Yes, and so is the fact that this is a feminist novel. It is almost a great success. What is accomplished for this reader is one of the most realistic portrayals of a woman's ordinary life and her development from a seemingly passive wife and mother into an independent whole person.

The only quarrel I have with the resolution is the un-feminist stance of our new heroine in her acceptance of responsibility for her husband's momentary defection from her bed and board. Fielding has the husband admit his idiocy, admit the bathos of a middle-aged man trying to recapture his youth by leaving his wife's bed and jumping into a twenty-year olds. He is right. It is bathetic and it does not work, and someone ought to have told P.E.T. a long time ago. While the straying husband is in the arms of young Judy, all peroxided and covered in make-up, Joanne, the wife of twenty years, finds it impossible to accept the loving caresses of a handsome tennis instructor. Clearly, what is sauce for the gander is not sauce for the goose.

Besides being a feminist novel of respectable quality, The Deep End is a murder mystery that is a cliff hanger. Recommended for senior students and up.

Margaret MacLean, Central Technical School, Toronto, Ont.
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