Vanessa V. Friedman
June 02, 2000 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Half a Heart

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Rosellen Brown
publisher
Farrar, Straus & Giroux
genre
Fiction

We gave it a B+

In Rosellen Brown’s Half a Heart, a wealthy Houston housewife enjoys a Leave It to Beaver life with her doctor husband and children until she decides to find the daughter she gave up long ago. That daughter, the product of a ’60s love affair with an African-American colleague — was raised by him in Brooklyn, and when her mother comes looking, she is more than eager to be found (she has her reasons). The repercussions of the past, nature versus nurture, race relations, and the incredible imbalance of parent-child love are the daunting themes here, and the family portraits are more effective — and affecting — than the debate about ethnicity. But Brown’s characters are multidimensional enough to carry their weight. B+

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