The New York Times bestselling novel by the author of The Interestings and The Female Persuasion that woke up critics, book clubs, and women everywhere.
For a group of four New York friends the past decade has been defined largely by marriage and motherhood, but it wasn’t always that way. Growing up, they had been told that their generation would be different. And for a while this was true. They went to good colleges and began high-powered careers. But after marriage and babies, for a variety of reasons, they decided to stay home, temporarily, to raise their children. Now, ten years later, they are still at home, unsure how they came to inhabit lives so different from the ones they expected—until a new series of events begins to change the landscape of their lives yet again, in ways they couldn’t have predicted.
Written in Meg Wolitzer’s inimitable, glittering style, The Ten-Year Nap is wickedly observant, knowing, provocative, surprising, and always entertaining, as it explores the lives of its women with candor, wit, and generosity.
Meg Wolitzers's newest book, The Interestings, is now available from Riverhead Books.
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.
A slog with a point
Have you had days when you go through them feeling as if you have a screen in front of your face? I just realized you probably do have a screen in front of your face- almost always. No, not that kind of screen- I’m talking about an old fashioned window screen. The kind you can see through but there is a dullness to everything you see.
This book is like that. The women and men (all mothers and fathers) live their lives in full without really seeing what they’re doing or where they’re heading. It’s almost blissful ignorance that they want- until they don’t. Life with hard truths is much more interesting.
Unfortunately for me this book spends 90% of its length in the dullness of the ‘screened in’ lives of its characters. In that it’s quite dull- and long. A slog.
But in the end I see the point. And I reflected. Though I’m way past my child rearing years (and I loved them) I did cut off whole parts of myself so I could be their best mom. I fell asleep for ten years- it was a nap.
The ten year nap
Started 6 months ago, had trouble getting through it. Stopped and picked it back up. I started the book over. I feel the same way as I did when I started reading it. I will stop at chapter 4. Moving on!
The Ten Year Nap
The book is aptly titled. I read for 200 pages hoping for something interesting to happen, then gave up. I had previously read “The Wife” and thought it was very well written so I expected more than this book delivered. Very vague and “wandering “.