The heroine of Other Women is trying to make her way through a midlife crisis with the help of a sympathetic counselor. Caroline Kelly is the single mother of two teenage children; she is divorced from a doctor and is confronting the wish of her lesbian partner for an end to their relationship. She has also become increasingly bothered by her work as an emergency room nurse. In desperation, and despite her mistrust of psychology generally, she seeks help from a therapist, Hannah Burke.
The bulk of the novel is devoted to showing the extent to which Caroline’s life has been influenced by her parents, professional do-gooders who devoted so much caring to people in need that they had no love left for their children. Their harshness shows itself even in their behavior toward Caroline’s children. Hannah Burke is also the product of a form of neglect and is therefore qualified to recognize Caroline’s problem and help her to deal with it.
Caroline’s identity problem also involves her love life. She had divorced her husband because of his neglect of her emotional needs and had found warmth as well as sexual fulfillment in a relationship with another woman. That relationship has foundered, however, because it has lost its spontaneity. Caroline finds herself tempted by another man, a doctor like her husband but apparently more sensitive. As the new relationship develops, however, she recognizes, with Hannah’s help, that it would only...
(The entire section is 429 words.)