Ann Pearlman's 'Infidelity' is the true story of the devastating effects of marital betrayal on three generations of American women: her grandmother, her mother, and herself.
An unusually vivid and striking account of the effects of men's affairs on their wives and daughters, this memoir spans three generations of the author's Jewish family. The women are close and discuss the gambling, alcoholism and "Don Juanism" of their men, even with the younger girls present; they encourage the girls always to remain able to support themselves and their children. Pearlman's gift for characterization shines through in her portrayal of her intelligent and charismatic father, who explains Freud to her and her brother at family dinners, which are often served late because he secretly visits his mistress after work. Following the sage advice of her female relatives, Pearlman travels, takes lovers and earns her M.S.W. to become a therapist/counselor. "Determined not to redo my mother's marriage," she eventually marries an African-American football player and artist she is certain will remain faithful to her and to whom she can be faithful. After 30 years with him, and after having published a book on keeping the passion alive in a long-term marriage, however, Pearlman discovers her husband's affair with a married Japanese student in one of the university art courses he teaches. While the experiences of her clients in therapy hauntingly reflect her own, Pearlman gives herself one year to either save her marriage or end it. In compact sentences and chapters, Pearlman uses the present tense to bring scenes from all stages of her life to full-color vitality. This collection of vignettes coalesces into an immediate, personal story of depth and power, as gripping as a good novel.