Men aren’t supposed to have a mid-life crisis at 78, but Joseph does, as Cathleen Schine begins The Three Weissmanns of Westport. His “irreconcilable differences” are predictable – his assistant, Felicity, younger and hungry for the good life. So Joseph’s long-serving wife, Betty, is forced to leave posh Central Park West to live off the goodwill of Cousin Lou in a dilapidated Westport cottage.
Schine writes in a Bridget Jones style, without the diary, or going back a little further – Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. The story has humorous and wise moments: “…Drama is draining…” And Betty could be Betty White – sarcastic and funny, biting yet sympathetic. She emerges from the stereotypical caricature of divorce victim to someone you might know.
Somehow the three Weissmanns manage to support each other. The two adult daughters leave Manhattan to move in with their mother in a show of support: sensible Annie – comfort to everyone, manager of everything; and Miranda, emotional seeker of the life, truth, and happiness that have eluded her for over 40 years.
Through the foibles and adventures, the plot turns repeatedly. But the ones who are meant to be together in the end, manage to find each other. Maybe as a note of caution to old lovers who take each other for granted, Schine ends with a bittersweet twist for Betty and Joseph.
The women are contemporary and likeable; the language is clever with poignant moments. Have a cup of tea with some cake and enjoy.