Another You Critical Essays

Ann Beattie

Another You

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Marshall Lockard’s quiet life at a quiet New Hampshire college is thrown into disarray when a female student tries to involve him in a dispute that includes another student, the college’s counseling service, and one of his fellow professors. Lockard, who tries to avoid emotional entanglements, is attracted to his student and responds when she flirts with him, so he tries to be helpful, but finds that events overwhelm him.

Jack MacCallum, the colleague who supposedly assaulted a female student, unloads his troubles on Sonja Lockard, Marshall’s wife. When she believes he is unfaithful, MacCallum’s wife stabs him several times, injuring him but not fatally. Lockard has to deal with this, and with the disruption caused when Sonja confesses to him that she has been having an affair with her boss, a real estate broker. She promises that the affair is over, but it is suggested that she is attracted to a lesbian counselor at the college. Lockard’s life is further disrupted when his stepmother, Evie, dies.

Partly to escape his troubles, Lockard agrees to drive a recuperating MacCallum to Florida during their spring break. On the way they make a side trip to visit the mother of the student who had involved Lockard in the mess in the first place; MacCallum and the girl’s mother had been lovers years earlier. MacCallum and the student then leave together, revealing to Lockard that they had been lovers all along. Lockard goes on to his brother’s home in Key West, where he encounters further disturbances.

ANOTHER YOU is an often amusing study of a man who wants only to teach poetry to acquiescent students, but whose family and friends ceaselessly involve him in less elevated matters. He manages to survive, but after the events recounted in the novel his life will inevitably be permanently changed.

Sources for Further Study

Booklist. XCI, August, 1995, p. 1908.

Boston Globe. September 24, 1995, p. 39.

Los Angeles Times Book Review. October 8, 1995, p. 2.

The New York Times Book Review. C, September 24, 1995, p. 12.

Publishers Weekly. CCXLII, July 31, 1995, p. 68.

San Francisco Chronicle. September 10, 1995, p. REV1.

Time. CXLVI, September 25, 1995, p. 70.

USA Today. November 15, 1995, p. D8.

The Wall Street Journal. September 11, 1995, p. A18.

The Washington Post. September 21, 1995, p. C8.