Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 801
Heidi Holland, an art history professor and essayist who teaches at Columbia University. After attending Miss Crain’s School in Chicago in the mid-1960’s, she pursues her education as an undergraduate at Vassar and a member of the art history graduate program at Yale in the early 1970’s. Throughout her professional career, she advocates greater recognition for female artists, demonstrating at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1974, writing the book And the Light Floods in from the Left in the late 1970’s, directing the group Women’s Art in 1982, and arranging a show on Lila Cabot Perry in 1984. Although she has a deepening friendship with Peter Patrone and long-standing relationships with Susan Johnston and Scoop Rosenbaum, she feels lonely and stranded in 1986. Dissatisfied with social standards that discourage both women and men from recognizing and achieving their full potential, Heidi hopes that Judy, the Panamanian infant she adopts in 1988, will live in a more encouraging milieu than the one in which she came of age.
Scoop Rosenbaum, a man whom Heidi meets at a 1967 Eugene McCarthy fund-raiser in New Hampshire. Dressed in blue jeans and a work shirt, the Exeter graduate and Princeton dropout informs her that he is the editor in chief of The Liberated Earth News and displays a penchant for assigning grades to potato chips, music, people, and whatever else strikes his fancy. Describing himself as arrogant, difficult, and very smart, he simultaneously attracts and repels Heidi, with whom he carries on a sexual relationship while a Yale law student in 1970 and United States Supreme Court clerk in 1974. A junior associate at Sullivan Cromwell in 1977, he marries Lisa Friedlander, explaining to Heidi that, although he will always love the “A+” Heidi, the “A-” Lisa will prove to be a less competitive and, hence, more satisfactory wife. After becoming the influential editor of Boomer magazine, Scoop has an affair with his graphics assistant in 1980. By 1982, he and Lisa have two children, Maggie and Pierre. Increasingly estranged from Heidi in the 1980’s, Scoop visits her in 1988 with a silver spoon for Judy. He uses the occasion to tell Heidi that he has sold Boomer and decided to campaign for a congressional seat.
Susan Johnston, Heidi’s boy-crazy high school girlfriend. By 1970, she is a member of the Huron Street Ann Arbor Consciousness Raising Rap Group. She announces to the group that, instead of starting a women’s legal journal, she wishes to work within the system and accept a job with The Law Review, but she later leaves her clerkship alongside Scoop at the Supreme Court in 1974 to move to a women’s health and legal collective in Montana. In 1980, having attended business school, she accepts a position in Los Angeles as an executive vice president for a new production company. By 1984, she is a power broker, uninterested in Heidi’s emotional distress and unappreciative of the serious nature of her work, who callously proposes that her friend act as a consultant in creating a situation comedy about three female artists in a Houston loft.
Peter Patrone, a boy Heidi meets at a high school dance. He charms her with his cynical attitude toward the proceedings and remains in touch with her while a student at Williams College. Pursuing a career in medicine in Chicago in 1974, he reveals to Heidi that he is a homosexual and that he is involved with fellow doctor Stanley Zinc. A pediatrics resident at Bellevue in 1977, Peter earns the title of “The Best Pediatrician in New York Under Forty” from Boomer and becomes chief of pediatrics at New York Hospital by 1982. Concerned about the AIDS crisis, by 1987 he has started a special unit for AIDS-stricken children, using funds supplied by...
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