Friday, March 13, 2009

The 4x10 Reading Challenge Update #3

It's time for another reading challenge update! I recently finished The Ten Year Nap by Meg Wolitzer and although this novel is skilfully written, it annoyed me so much. The Ten Year Nap centers around a small group of New York women who left promising careers to raise children. Now that their children are older, they are at crossroads in their lives. Now I know many women have misgivings about leaving careers, academia etc, but I was extremely annoyed by these particularly self-indulgent women walking through life with vague discontent. I didn't think that they needed to be so miserable. Is happiness elusive to them because their careers were derailed by motherhood? Is happiness elusive in general? I mean, I'm just not convinced that these women would be any happier if they were back at work. I just can't understand boredom. As a stay at home mother myself, I was insulted by the cliche of the bored housewife. If they're bored, it's their own fault. As I read, I started to get angry because I wanted them to take responsibility for their own happiness. They didn't have to be so discontent. Is this really a true and honest look at women who give up careers to raise children? I'm sure for a lot of women it is, but is it true for all women?

I was especially insulted by the main character Amy who assumes that her husband no longer finds her interesting because she has stayed home with their son for the past ten years. Can she only be interesting with a high-profile law career? Can't she be interesting because of who she is and not what she does? Is it possible that her husband doesn't think she's boring at all and that he's got his own problems and is, well, just preoccupied? It turns out that he's worried about a lot of things including their debt. It saddened me that what they lacked was true communication in their marriage.

I admit that it's unusual for me to have such a strong reaction to a novel, but in the end, I did see a glimmer of hope that they were finally taking some responsibility for their lives. The women were waking up!
Anyone else read this? What do you think?

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