Picks and Pans Review: Something Blue

updated 01/21/1991 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/21/1991 AT 01:00 AM EST

by Ann Hood

It is totally out of character for Katherine, but when we first meet her, she is running out on her wedding day. "If I stay here and do this I think I will die," she writes on the note she leaves for her sister before hopping the commuter train to New York City.

She is seeking sanctuary with her best friend and college roommate, Lucy. Which may not be the wisest move, given that Lucy doesn't view Katherine as her best friend and doesn't know how Katherine ever could have viewed her that way.

Katherine, a first-grade teacher, combs her hair and puts on lipstick almost before she gets out of bed in the morning and for years signed her notes with a happy face: "Lucy half expects her to break into song sometimes, the way people do in old musicals. She can see it now, Katherine dancing up the walls, her voice full of gusto and enthusiasm singing about a brighter day."

Lucy, a tour guide for quickie trips to Europe, has a new best friend, Julia, a nomadic actress and jewelry designer who sleeps only with exotic foreign men. In any case Lucy has enough problems—an adorable boyfriend she doesn't think she adores anymore and a stalled illustrating career-without adding a runaway bride to the mix.

Something Blue, which seems rather like a '90s version of Wendy Wasserstein's Uncommon Women and Others, chronicles the lives of its three main women characters-all trying to find an identity that fits comfortably, trying to figure out where they belong (metaphorically and literally) and just whom they belong to.

Hood, author of Somewhere off the Coast of Maine, has a wonderful ear for conversation and is terrific at delineating the small bits of intimacy that make up a close friendship—watching television together over the telephone, say, or playing a game that involves guessing the haberdashery of the next person to come out of an elevator. More important, she makes us care what becomes of her confused trio. (Bantam, $18.95)

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