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March 28, 1993|CHARLES SOLOMON

THE WAY MEN ACT by Elinor Lipman (Washington Square Press: $10; 305 pp.). At 30, former high school cheerleader Melinda LeBlanc is disillusioned with life and romance in California; she resolves "to declare myself a sturdy, salty, thrifty New Englander, who wanted her unborn children--for surely they'd come in my thirties--to experience the four seasons, to shovel snow, to vote Democratic; to know smart and accomplished people who drove beat-up cars, on purpose, proudly." LeBlanc returns to the small Massachusetts town of Harrow, but finds she is no longer the belle of the ball; her parents and former high school friends are no longer eager to do her bidding. This clever novel about a woman's search for identity ends on a satisfying note, as LeBlanc learns the problem isn't that you can't go home again, but that you really wouldn't want to if you could.

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