Picks and Pans Review: Man, Woman and Child

updated 05/19/1980 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/19/1980 01:00AM

by Erich Segal

An MIT statistics prof and his wife, a brilliant editor of history books, think of their marriage as perfect, and so do all their friends. It suddenly is threatened by the appearance of the man's 9-year-old illegitimate son, sired during a brief fling with a beautiful French doctor. The perfect couple has two perfect daughters of its own who bicker with one-liners just like kids on a TV sitcom. Then the little boy's mother is killed in an auto accident, he is left homeless and his remarkable ability at soccer stirs macho-father feelings in the heart of Segal's dimwitted hero. (Everyone is surprisingly dense, in spite of all the badinage and perfection.) The wife reacts in a Victorian manner: " 'Damn,' said Sheila. Her teeth were clenched in anger. She did not really wish to think about the beauty of the late Nicole Guerin." Her problem is that Dad wants to have his marriage and his little bastard too. Like Segal's Love Story, this is a perfectly superficial novel. (Harper & Row, $9.95)

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