The Jane Austen of contemporary sexual politics transforms domestic fiction - this time into a compelling, compassionate and witty inquiry into the price of ambition, the value of work, issues of class, money and the meaning of motherhood. For a group of four New York friends, the past ten years have been defined by marriage and motherhood. ...
The Jane Austen of contemporary sexual politics transforms domestic fiction - this time into a compelling, compassionate and witty inquiry into the price of ambition, the value of work, issues of class, money and the meaning of motherhood. For a group of four New York friends, the past ten years have been defined by marriage and motherhood. Educated to believe that they and their generation would conquer the world, they nonetheless left high-powered jobs to stay at home with their babies. What was intended as a temporary time-out has turned into a decade. Now at forty, without professions to define them, and with children growing up, Amy, Jill, Roberta and Karen wake up to a life and a future that is not what they expected or intended. When Amy gets drawn into the ambit of a seductive and successful working mother who seems to have it all - work, love family - a lifetime's worth of concerns, both practical and existential open up.As Amy's fascination grows, the four friends are forced to confront the choices they've made in opting for stay-at-home motherhood over career, for domestic over financial responsibility. Wolitzer's narrative brilliantly juggles and manipulates the classic image of the harassed, emotionally ambivalent but dynamic working mother, against the secret satisfaction, regret and powerlessness of the stay-at-home version - and behind that their own mothers, an earlier generation who had fewer options and sometimes bigger dreams. Nothing is quite as it seems, though, and Amy faces a real-life wake-up call when the romantic images she's conjured up start to curdle, reality takes hold, and the landscape begins to shift for all of them.
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Publishers Weekly, 2008-05-26 This self-conscious, idea-driven novel is read well by Alyssa Bresnahan, but she doesn't clearly distinguish each mother struggling for identity and purpose in today's confusing "post-feminist" middle class. Speaker identity comes not from the reader but from "Amy said" or "Jill said." There is plenty of irony--note the title--but Bresnahan's ironic tone sometimes leads us to dismiss characters' experiences and feelings. This is not entirely her fault as the main players are somewhat stereotyped: lawyer quits work to care for baby (now aged 10); husband struggles to keep family afloat; grandmother remains feminist warrior; Chinese mother wastes her mathematical genius. But Bresnahan does enliven Wolitzer's recap of modern women's conundrums, so despite limitations, this audio will surely kindle controversy on blogs and at book clubs, kitchen, school and office confabs. Simultaneous release with the Riverhead hardcover (Reviews, Dec. 24). (Apr.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
Publishers Weekly, 2007-12-24 In her latest novel, Wolitzer (The Wife; etc.) takes a close look at the "opt out" generation: her cast of primary characters have all abandoned promising careers (in art, law and academia) in favor of full-time motherhood. When their children were babies, that decision was defensible to themselves and others; 10 years on, all of these women, whose interconnected stories merge during their regular breakfasts at a Manhattan restaurant, harbor hidden doubts. Do their mundane daily routines and ever-more tenuous connections to increasingly independent children compensate for all that lost promise? Wolitzer centers her narrative on comparisons between her smart but bored modern-day New York and suburban mommies and the women of the generation preceding them, who fought for women's liberation and equality. Contemporary chapters, most of which focus on a single character in this small circle of friends, alternate with vignettes from earlier eras, placing her characters' crises in the context of the women, famous and anonymous, who came before. Wolitzer's novel offers a hopeful, if not exactly optimistic, vision of women's (and men's) capacity for reinvention and the discovery of new purpose. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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