A "ten year nap" sounds sooooo good right about now.

(Man oh man. My computer is busted, done, D E A D, so I've been surviving (if you can call it that) all week with snippets of time on CG's laptop at night. He just rigged up a desktop for me using some old computer bits (that's right, we have enough spare computer bits lying around to make up a whole new one) and I feel like I finally can breathe again. Who knew the interwebs were so darn addictive?)


Normally (ie. before Zoe), I would bring 4-5 books on a week long vacation. This time, I brought two and only got through one: The Ten Year Nap by Meg Wolitzer which my dad sent to me after he read a review of it.

First of all, can we all just agree that it's super cool that my dad sends me a book? A book that I actually really wanted to read? He's got good taste and he knows me pretty well. He knows how much I've enjoyed reading mommy memoirs and since this novel centers on mothers, he thought I might enjoy it.

That's right, I've left my usual, comforting milieu of mommy memoirs to read..... a mommy novel. I'm really branching out here.

Most of the main characters in The Ten Year Nap are stay at home mothers of middle schoolers who left promising careers when their children were born and never went back (hence, the "ten year nap" of the title). They are a little befuddled to be where they are and are taking stock of the choices they made. Wolitzer also includes illuminating short chapters about the main characters' mothers, exposing their struggles as mothers which perhaps sowed the seeds for the choices made by their daughters. I found these chapters to be especially interesting fodder for thought. (Amy's mother was an early feminist writer who would shut her daughters out of her office when she needed to write. Amy later becomes a stay at home mother with no real career aspirations who then becomes a bit obsessed with a working mother friend who appears to have it all.)

By focusing mostly on stay at home mothers, Wolitzer could have chosen sides in the "mommy wars" (ack. I HATE that phrase but it's the only one to use, isn't it?). But I don't think it comes across that way.

Our choices as mothers have always been difficult, fraught with guilt and obligation, love and sacrifice. There is no easy, totally satisfying choice for most of us and the moms I know regularly reevaluate their work/childcare/life decisions. Wolitzer conveys all this very well. All in all, I'd give this book 3 out of 4 stars. I really liked it; I didn't LOVE it.

Now I'm back to working through The Omnivore's Dilemma which is illuminating and depressing and oh so different from a "mommy novel"!

Anyone else reading something good?


Anonymous said...

I was on the wait list for three books at our local library, and I just got a notice that all of them are available this week. But noooooo, I can't have three books checked out at the same time. I can barely finish one before I have to return it. Bah!

grammalouie said...

I'm reading a book I'm really enjoying. It's called What I Know Now: Letters to My Younger Self. Extraordinary Women Share the Wisdom They Wish They'd Had When They Were Younger. Edited by Ellyn Spragins.
Small book, poignant, with stories about amazing, accomplished women followed by their own letters to themselves when they were younger. When I finish it, I am going to write a letter to myself when I was about nine. And then maybe another one to me when I was sixteen.

desperate housewife said...

I've been wanting to read The Ten Year Nap for awhile now.
Also, we totally have enough spare computer parts to rig together SEVERAL computers.

~d said...

OOh oohh me me!! Pick me..

Just finished..

The Last Lecture Randy Pausch

Amanda Bright @ home

just stopping by.. :)

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