Ben is, at last, leaving home. At twenty-two, he's the youngest of the family. His mother Edie, an actress, is distraught. His father Russell, a theatrical agent, is rather hoping to get his wife back, after decades of family life. His brother, Matthew, is wrestling with a relationship in which he achieves and earns less than his girlfriend. His ...
Ben is, at last, leaving home. At twenty-two, he's the youngest of the family. His mother Edie, an actress, is distraught. His father Russell, a theatrical agent, is rather hoping to get his wife back, after decades of family life. His brother, Matthew, is wrestling with a relationship in which he achieves and earns less than his girlfriend. His sister Rosa is wrestling with debt, and the end of a turbulent love affair. Meet the Boyd family and the empty nest, twenty-first-century style.
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I've just finished reading Second Honeymoon, plus 10 or so online reviews. I think what I wanted to find in the reviews was some confirmation of my own complete lack of empathy with most of the characters, most especially the 'heroine' Edie. I didn't. Every single review speaks of the endearing qualities of Edie, the 'quirkiness', her dilemmas, her multidemensionality etc. Basically the book is about Edie and Russell's -an actress and agent respectively - situation when their youngest (of three) adult child leaves home. Edie is devastated, having constituted herself as Great Mother, Russell is more philosphical, hoping, rather unrealistically for a "second honeymoon" . I won't say more about the plot, except to say that the rest of the book is about these children failing at various enterprises and coming home again. Edie herself , in a seriously unlikely happenstance , meanwhile lands a great role in Ibsens Ghosts and invites her stage son home too. Did everyone find it to be about a flawed but endearing Bohemian baby boomer couple and their interesting offspring having interesting crises? Or did anyone else think it was about a seriously unappealing woman, who is quite sickening in her conception of motherhood ( the scenes of t-shirt sniffing and lying in departed's beds, and -my favourite-her looking at the towel wrapped round her 28 year old son's waist and saying "why so modest, I've seen it all before you know ...") Though her 'Bohemianism' seems strangely absent when she thinks her adult daughter may be having sex with the lodger. "Not in my house " says Edie. And she is unfailingly nasty to her sister, whose own son has left home for Australia, not Walthamstow ,but isn't allowed to feel as Edie the Great Mother feels. At the point where one reviewer said she found Vivien, the sister , a bit too much a of feminist triumph I got that feeling of having read a different book. Vivien, the feminist triumph, abandoned by a lying and womanising husband , who, when she takes him back out of lonliness betrays her again. Vivien , who is described by Edie's daughter as being all "kitten heels and chandelier earrings" when being wooed again by said husband . Someone help me please .............
Publishers Weekly, 2005-12-05 Over 16 novels, Trollope has explored a plethora of the modern family's permutations; her 17th is a tender, funny ode to empty nest syndrome. Edie Boyd is a middle-aged, part-time actress and London mother of three whose youngest is packing up and moving out. Husband Russell is delighted with the chance to rediscover and retune their marriage, but Edie can't quite face life (or herself) without being "Mum" on a daily basis. Not to worry: the children almost simultaneously fall prey to a series of mishaps and financial troubles, and Edie is delighted when her wish to have her brood back is suddenly granted. At this point, the transformations one expects in a flown coop begin to take hold, as does the comedy. Embedded in the novel's sometimes soap opera turns, which cut expertly from the children's points of view to Edie's, are Trollope's somehow insightful takes on the perennial career vs. child-rearing dilemma. The struggles of Edie, of Russell, and of children Rosa, Matt, Ben and their various partners are deftly rendered in the dialogue that dominates the book; it has a good pace and marks out the narrative decisively. The things her flawed but lovable characters say to each other, in fact, save Trollope's tidily concluded latest from feeling too much like chick lit for the PBS set. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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