Review

The Woman Next Door

by Barbara Delinsky



Authors often try to work current events or hot topics into their
novels. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. It is especially
difficult to write knowledgeably about an emotional issue that they
themselves have not experienced. Infertility is such a topic. As a
veteran of the infertility wars, I can tell you that in THE WOMAN
NEXT DOOR, Barbara Delinsky successfully conveys the frustration
and stress as well as the resultant effects on a marriage in an
absolutely believable manner.

Thirty year old Amanda and thirty-six year old Graham are
newlyweds. They spend the first year of their marriage simply
enjoying each other's company and loving each other. After that
first year, however, they want to start creating a family,
hopefully a large one. After all, Graham comes from a large
Irish-Catholic family, where five or six children are the norm.
With the obvious exception of his brother the priest, all of his
siblings are married and have at least two and as many as five
children already. The same is expected of him. Although Amanda is
an only child, or maybe because she is, she too wants a large
family.

   

Following their first anniversary, Amanda and Graham buy a house
intending to fill it with children. Both have successful careers.
Graham is a well-respected landscape architect and Amanda is the
school psychologist in the local school district. Both assume that
when the babies come, Amanda will simply cut back on her hours,
working part-time, possibly even from home. 

Everything seems idyllic, but a year passes without a pregnancy.
Amanda's gynecologist tells the couple to "relax and give it more
time," something they try to do. Another year passes, and they
begin to make the rounds of the fertility experts. Each specialist
tells them something different; each performs different tests and
has different ideas of what to do. Finally, they find a local
doctor who seems to understand their problems, which she treats in
an aggressive manner --- Amanda starts taking fertility drugs, and
procedures with acronyms like IUI, AI, and IVF become part of their
life.

   

Meanwhile, life around them goes on. A troubled boy, the star of
the varsity baseball team at Amanda's high school, comes to a
practice so drunk he can barely stand, much less play. Two other
boys are also involved, and all three are suspended from the team,
throwing into motion a chain of events leading to several crises.
At the same time, Amanda, Graham, and their neighbors discover that
the young widow of a beloved neighbor is pregnant, but the timing
precludes her husband from being the father, and she won't reveal
who is. The residents of the cul-de-sac begin to watch each other
warily, trying to determine if one of the men is the
father. 

   

Barbara Delinsky has done an excellent job of characterization in
THE WOMAN NEXT DOOR. Graham and Amanda are both believable, as are
their neighbors. The problems they must live with, as well as the
resulting angst, are all part of the tapestry middle class couples
deal with as they juggle personal lives, careers, and
friendships. 



Reviewed by Debbie Ann Weiner on January 24, 2011

The Woman Next Door
by Barbara Delinsky

  • Publication Date: July 1, 2002
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket
  • ISBN-10: 0743411250
  • ISBN-13: 9780743411257