YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Your Bookshelf

A Doctor's Battle to Keep Her Child

June 12, 1986|ROSELLE M. LEWIS

Custody: A True Story by Elizabeth Morgan MD (Little, Brown: $16.95).

"My marriage, like a hemorrhaging patient with a gunshot wound in the chest, was rapidly dying." After recovering from the startling metaphor found in the opening line of Elizabeth Morgan's third book ("The Making of a Woman Surgeon" was her first), the reader pushes on to find a pastiche of autobiography, snippets of medical lore, insights into the beauties of motherhood and a plea for fair child-custody laws.

"A True Story" starts on the eve of Morgan's giving birth to her daughter Lucy. The previous week, she has decided to chuck her husband due to "incompatibility," but fathers have rights, and he fights back, at first demanding visitation days with his daughter, followed by a fierce custody suit, based on allegations that Morgan's professional commitments have rendered her an "unfit mother."

Juggling Dual Roles

What is it like, juggling the dual roles of single parent and successful plastic surgeon, of having an adorable child, whose every gurgle and developmental step is recorded, yet being forced to leave her off at dubious baby sitters before performing skin grafts and rhinoplasty?

Why is the law so unfair to even consider awarding custody to the parent who can hire an expensive lawyer, and not necessarily the one who nurtures and cares?

Well, life--as in soap opera and sitcom--is never easy, not even when Morgan triumphs in a courtroom scene of hysteria and tears, only to reflect on the defects of our legal system and the need for national guidelines in this area.

Right Ingredients

Containing all the right ingredients for a useful, honest book, "Custody" might have shed some light on an increasingly difficult social issue.

But someone should have lent a hand in editing this hasty prose pudding that has everything in it, including the scrub-up sink.

Los Angeles Times Articles