Once upon a time there was a couple who loved each other since childhood, married, raised a couple of kids and lived happily ever after.
No, wait, rewind! They lived happily …. for twenty-five years and then……
Sarah, who stayed home to raise the children, had put her love of costume design on a back burner, taking only those occasional costuming jobs for local theaters, churches and synagogues that she could weave around the family’s hectic schedules.
Asher, the oldest of six, spent his childhood caring for his siblings while his father worked long hours and his agoraphobic mother stayed home. He’d parlayed his love of cooking from selling soups out of his home kitchen while still in junior high, to an international multi-million dollar soup business.
As the book opens, Sarah and Asher’s children are grown and out of the house and Sarah is finally free to work full time. She lands her dream job of assisting a top designer costuming a movie being filmed in Chicago.
At this exact same moment, Asher sells his soup company for millions of dollars. Free from all constraints for the first time in his life, his only thought is to rush home and make love to Sarah then begin planning a future of non-stop travel, fantasizing a life where they spend all their time together.
Complicating this conflict is the fact that Sarah is a card-carrying member of the Sandwich Generation. Her mother Fanny shows troubling signs of not being able to care for herself. An aging actress, Fanny demands attention and is jealous of anything and everything that keeps Sarah -- Fanny's only child -- from catering to her needs.
Then Sarah's daughter confides she's experiencing some troubled waters in her year-old marriage. Sarah tells her: "....you show me a woman who hasn't fantasized getting in the car and leaving home and I'll show you a woman who doesn't drive."
But, in Sarah's own marriage, it is Asher who is fantasizing leaving home. He begs Sarah to go with him, but her need to stay and work is as strong as his need to travel and play. When Asher's best friend dies suddenly, Asher slips into a depression. It is then Sarah tells him: "After so many years of good behavior, a little time off isn't going to kill our marriage, but staying together might.” And, so saying, she sends him off in the world.
"TIME OFF FROM GOOD BEHAVIOR is a vibrant novel that resonates with tears, laughter and choices of the heart. Susan Sussman has forged a funny, warm and daring exploration of a delightful couple's most challenging journey--to discover a new horizon for their love and happiness."
"…Full of wry wisecracks and savvy shtick…as homey and reassuring as chicken soup....…a thoroughly good time."
“A Nora Ephron with warmth.”
“Generous, madcap—and heartwarming.”
"… a wonderful marriage is such a delightful anachronism it’s worth writing a book about. ...the most remarkable feature of Time Off is its sense of humor… every test proves that this resilient, courageous couple actually can do just about anything."
Rabbi Harold Kushner
"A touching and funny novel; I thoroughly enjoyed it."
(author "When All You've Ever Wanted Isn't Enough" and "When Bad Things Happen to Good People")