The unnamed narrator is married to her fourth husband, Jake, and she's just discovered he has been unfaithful. This revelation and the sudden realisation that she and Jake are fighting, have been fighting for years, over the number of kids they have sends the narrator into a tailspin that leads to a psychiatrist's office. The rest of the story is told through the narrator recounting memories of her life in between far colder, stiffer episodes in therapy sessions. It's actually really, grimly fascinating.
It doesn't result in brilliant, pithy quotes but it does builds up into this story where you have a woman who began the marriage game far too young, and who has coped remarkably well despite being very, very unequipped to handle the life she's created, is now being completely overwhelmed. She's still got a sense of humour but her sense of purpose has been entirely subverted by her doing the one thing she knows how to do well, have kids. The pumpkin eater of the original story kept his wife in a shell where she did very well. The narrator of this story has acted as both pumpkin eater and wife, hiding herself away in this tiny space where she has no name and exists only as an extension of other people. The book's ending is brutal and heartbreaking, there's no room for our poor, lost lamb of a narrator to manoeuvre in her little shell.
I'd never heard of Penelope Mortimer before finding this book but if this is the quality of her writing, deceptively domestic but rather chilling if you look closer, then I'd definitely like to read more of her work.