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Family Planning    by Elizabeth Letts order for
Family Planning
by Elizabeth Letts
Order:  USA  Can
New American Library, 2006 (2006)
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Elizabeth Letts' second book, Family Planning, uses a women's clinic as a backdrop. Realistically so. Charlotte Hopper, a nurse practitioner, works mostly with pregnant women or those seeking contraceptives. Her clinic mates all have their own agendas.

Mary Louise discovers that being alone after thirty years of marriage isn't so bad after all. Flo looks forward to retirement in Florida. LeAnn falls in love with being in love. Arecely wants to finish college. Charlotte wants a baby. All their ambitions are forgotten when a newborn's body is discovered in the dumpster behind the clinic. Then, whatever could possibly go wrong does. There are protesters, a flood, an invasion by the press, and a takeover bid by a rival clinic. Through all this, the women who run the clinic draw closer together, aware now more than ever that they need the backup each of them can provide.

A sensitive read, Family Planning portrays the sisterhood that can arise when women work closely together. The caring for each other displayed on these pages shows women at their best (of course, a steady supply of sugary goodies may play a part in that). While these women live in each others' pockets, they still manage to have individual crises - which is when all their true colors come out, as loving and caring friends surround them.

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