BOOK REVIEW: ‘The Laws of Gravity’: Beyond Tour de Force to Family Interaction Force of Nature

  • Reviewed by David M. Kinchen 
BOOK REVIEW: 'The Laws of Gravity': Beyond Tour de Force to Family Interaction Force of Nature
Drop whatever book you’re reading and pick up a copy of Liz Rosenberg’s stunning look at three Long Island families, “The Laws of Gravity” (Amazon Publishing, 288 pages, $24.95, available in eBook and audio book editions from
I learned a lot about cord blood storage and what it’s good for, but most of all I delighted in Rosenberg’s dissection of the Greene, Wiesenthal and Richter families told in clear-eyed, more often than not very funny prose.Known primarily as a children’s author,
Rosenberg’s “The Laws of Gravity” is her second novel for adults, after “Home Repair.” It won’t be her last; in fact, it’s part of a two-book deal with Amazon (I wonder how much shuddering the mere mention of Amazon Publishing is coming from  traditional publishers!)
Nicole Greene, wife of Jay, mother of Daisy — with Daisy repeating with Julian the Ari-Nikki best friends model —  is in her mid thirties, too young to be dying of leukemia, but she is, despite the assertion of her friend and cousin Ari Wiesenthal that with treatment leukemia is chronic, not fatal. He offers her use of the cord blood extracted from the umbilical cord of his  son Julian and stored for possible future use. He reminds her that he saved her life from drowning off Montauk Point decades before and he’s ready to do it again.

Ari, three years older than Nicole,  sends the Greenes a letter stating his intent, but soon withdraws the offer when his son Julian is discovered to have a nodule on his neck. The condition is benign, but Ari panics, deciding he wants all of the cord blood, chiding Jay and Nicole Greene for not harvesting the cord blood when Daisy was born. The cost of $5,000 is nothing for the affluent Wiesenthals, but is substantial for the Greenes. Living on the north shore of Long Island is not for those short of cash.

Ari’s decision is not going to be ignored and Jay and Nicole bring suit against him, with the case assigned to Solomon Richter, a state Supreme Court judge on the brink of mandatory retirement as he turns 70. Richter knows he’s going out with a bang, realizing that this is going to be a very high-profile case. We learn a lot about Richter’s life, as his daughter Abigail breaks up with her live-in boyfriend, Tomas, and decides to adopt a Thai infant girl. Abigail and Sol’s wife Sarah fly to Thailand, returning with a girl they’ve named Lily. It’s love at first sight for Sol Richter.

A casualty of the lawsuit is the deep friendship between Nicole Greene, and Mimi, wife of Ari. I’m not going to give away plot points, except to say that nothing is permanent. I can state without reservation that Rosenberg is a marvelous storyteller, with deep understanding of families honed by her many books.

Again, drop whatever you’re doing and glom onto a copy of “The Laws of Gravity.”  I’m a book reviewer who usually expresses strong views on the books I read. This is the real deal when it comes to a family function/dysfunction novel melded with a legal thriller that would do justice to Scott Turow at his peak.

About the Author

Liz Rosenberg was born in Glen Cove, New York. She has written more than thirty books for adults and young readers, including novels, poetry, and nonfiction. For the past fifteen years she has been a book review columnist at The Boston Globe. Liz teaches at the State University of New York at Binghamton where she won the Chancellor’s Award for excellence in teaching. Her first husband was the late novelist John Gardner, author of Grendel. She lives in Binghamton, N.Y., with her husband, David, her daughter, Lily, and two shih tzus. Her son, Eli, lives in New York City as an actor and magician.


One thought on “BOOK REVIEW: ‘The Laws of Gravity’: Beyond Tour de Force to Family Interaction Force of Nature

  1. Arjun Kanuri says:

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