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An upmarket adult novel with comic undertones, The Underbelly is aimed primarily at women, but several men who read it confessed to having a crush on Trishita. One wanted her to run for president of the United States. Trishita McCabe, 25, six feet tall and redheaded, wants an education in order to escape the slums and her alcoholic mother.
Her father, a visiting professor from Scotland, knows naught of her. She has supported her mother and small half-brothers by working full time since age twelve and feels trapped by their need. When the little brothers are rescued away, she develops the courage to find employment as a live-in maid where she hopes to learn the ropes of the middle class. Dr. Jacquelyn Hyde, assistant superintendent of a large suburban school district, suffers from a secret obsession to break up people’s collections of useless things like empty beer bottles or Lalique figurines. She lives with her husband and two teen-aged children in a beautiful home in a suburban town.
She reads Trishita’s well written, varied and phony letters of recommendation and hires her. Their stories collide.