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The Ten-Year Nap

The Ten-Year Nap

2.9 30
by Meg Wolitzer, Alyssa Bresnahan (Narrated by)

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For a group of four New York friends, the past decade has been largely defined by marriage and motherhood. Educated and reared to believe that they would conquer the world, they then left prestigious jobs to stay home with their babies. What was meant to be a temporary leave of absence has lasted a decade. Now, at age forty, with the halcyon days of young


For a group of four New York friends, the past decade has been largely defined by marriage and motherhood. Educated and reared to believe that they would conquer the world, they then left prestigious jobs to stay home with their babies. What was meant to be a temporary leave of absence has lasted a decade. Now, at age forty, with the halcyon days of young motherhood behind them and without professions to define them, Amy, Jill, Roberta, and Karen face a life that is not what they were brought up to expect but seems to be the one they have chosen. But when Amy meets someone who seems to have fulfilled the classic women's dream of having it all--work, love, family--without having to give anything up, a lifetime's worth of concerns, both practical and existential, opens up. As her obsession with this woman's bustling life grows, it forces the four friends to confront the choices they've made--until a series of startling events shatters the peace and, for some of them, changes the landscape entirely.

Editorial Reviews

Sheri Holman
If Wolitzer were content to people her book solely with women happily married and wealthy enough to afford the luxury of ambivalence, it would be a too-familiar read. But she weaves in vignettes of marginal South Dakotans and various iconoclastic mothers and muses, subtly showing how women's individual choices (or lack thereof) are inextricable from the history and future of feminism…The book occasionally reads like an overly earnest polemic or a chatty episode of "The View," but for the most part Wolitzer perfectly captures her women's resolve in the face of a dizzying array of conflicting loyalties.
—The Washington Post
Penelope Green
As in earlier novels like The Wife and This Is Your Life, Meg Wolitzer presents a taxonomy of the subspecies known as the urban female. Lavishly educated and ruefully self-aware, the women in The Ten-Year Nap are never quite at the top of their game, time and success having passed them by—because of their gender, weak ambition, middling talent or some combination thereof. Amy and her friends aren't total losers, they're just not big technicolor winners. Caught between the second and third waves of feminism, they've created lives—as daughters do—in opposition to those of their mothers. All this could make for a dreary soup, except that it's a Wolitzer novel, so it's very entertaining. The tartly funny Wolitzer is a miniaturist who can nail a contemporary type, scene or artifact with deadeye accuracy.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

This self-conscious, idea-driven novel is read well by Alyssa Bresnahan, but she doesn't clearly distinguish each mother struggling for identity and purpose in today's confusing "post-feminist" middle class. Speaker identity comes not from the reader but from "Amy said" or "Jill said." There is plenty of irony-note the title-but Bresnahan's ironic tone sometimes leads us to dismiss characters' experiences and feelings. This is not entirely her fault as the main players are somewhat stereotyped: lawyer quits work to care for baby (now aged 10); husband struggles to keep family afloat; grandmother remains feminist warrior; Chinese mother wastes her mathematical genius. But Bresnahan does enliven Wolitzer's recap of modern women's conundrums, so despite limitations, this audio will surely kindle controversy on blogs and at book clubs, kitchen, school and office confabs. Simultaneous release with the Riverhead hardcover (Reviews, Dec. 24). (Apr.)

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Kirkus Reviews
A wise, witty assessment of the contemporary dilemmas of middle-class mothers (in particular: to work or not to work), set in the competitive terrain of New York City parenting. Using the comfortable format of friendship between four women, Wolitzer's eighth novel (The Position, 2005, etc.) takes ironic stock of how far females have (and haven't) come since feminism tried to rearrange the work/life balance between the sexes. Lawyer Amy Lamb has still not gone back to her job after the birth of her son ten years ago. Her good friend Jill, a one-time prizewinner who recently left Manhattan for the suburbs with her family, is finding it hard to fit in. Their circle also includes ex-artist Roberta who, like Amy, feels happier without the pressures of a job, yet senses dissatisfactions and uncertainty about her identity; and mathematician Karen, whose Chinese parents take great satisfaction in her not needing to work. The women meet for coffee or yoga and mutual support. Aside from Jill's jealousy of Amy's new friendship with glamorous museum director Penny, unaware that the relationship is driven by a shared secret (Penny's extramarital affair), plot events are few. Instead, Wolitzer uses modern domesticity as a lens through which to scrutinize mixed feelings about ambition, marriage, aging, money and the peculiar results of the women's individual choices. Further telling comparisons arise from glimpses of women of their mothers' generation. Instead of conclusions, there are some gradual changes, sometimes for the better. A perceptive, highly pleasurable novel that serves as Wolitzer's up-to-date answer to the old question: "What do women want?"Agent: Suzanne Gluck/William Morris Agency
From the Publisher
"Wolitzer is as precise and rigorous an observer of social status as Tom Wolfe; she is as invisibe and pitiless and clear-eyed a chronicler of female-male tandems as Philip Roth or John Updike." --Chicago Tribune

"Very entertaining. The tartly funny Wolitzer is a miniaturist who can nail a contemporary type, scene, or artifact with deadeye accuracy." --The New York Times

"Wolitzer perfectly captures her women's resolve in the face of a dizzying array of conflicting loyalties. To whom does a woman owe her primary allegiance? Her children? Her mother? Her friends, spouse, community? God forbid, herself?" --The Washington Post 

"What determines a woman's worth?... Wolitzer's middle-aged moms are flawed: selfish, neurotic, and occasionally petty. But they-- and their conflicts-- feels vividly, satisfyingly real." --Entertainment Weekly 

"Wolitzer's great ear for dialogues and for insinuating humor into seriousness make this noel a though-provoking pleasure to read." --The Seattle Times 

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Meet the Author

Meg Wolitzer is the New York Times bestselling author of The InterestingsThe Uncoupling, The Ten-Year Nap, The Position, The Wife, and Sleepwalking. She is also the author of the young adult novel, Belzhar. Wolitzer lives in New York City.

Brief Biography

New York, New York
Date of Birth:
May 28, 1959
Place of Birth:
Brooklyn, New York
B.A., Brown University, 1981

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The Ten-Year Nap 2.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 30 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book shines a light on the lives of several stay at home moms, but obscures some of the joy. I was disappointed with the novel's portrayal of marriage and motherhood. That said, it was interesting and I did enjoy reading it. It just left me feeling very sad.
ignacio_4_bn More than 1 year ago
If you're familiar with the kind of movies that join together three or four stories and, somehow, combine them into one, with great ease, you'll have no problem following this novel. It's about different people living different lives but they all intertwine with one another. The main theme is about how some women feel about leaving work behind and not returning for one reason or another. The different characters reflect on their current lives and wonder whether or not it was worth it to leave their careers and stay at home to watch after the kid(s). After reading this novel you should have a better idea about what goes through the head of the average mom...whether she is currently working or not.
Guest More than 1 year ago
For good fiction to catch fire something needs to be interesting-characters, story or good writing and I believe it's inherent for it to happen in the opening pages and this one doesn't catch fire. I haven't read anything else by her and maybe her previous novels are better. I could have also done without the simple language like Bip, Boop and Beep.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The 4 women in this book were not a representation of stay at home moms and their struggles! The title alone is insulting to women who have stayed at home for 10 years to raise their kids...like we watch soaps all day and are completely mindless because we don't work for corporate america.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Im done
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had read the Uncoupling by Wolitzer and was looking forward to reading this. As a woman who is considering having children I drawn to the synopsis and thought I could relate to the idea of women losing their sense of self after just taking on the role of mother. But there were so many characters struggling with the same thing that I think the story petered out and I lost interest.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was boring and lacked purpose. I did not find the characters very likable but I suppose the stories of these people were true to life. There was no climax and really just a melancholy hazey feel over all.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book for a plane ride!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This story seems to be an attempt to have a "Sex In the City" style of writing (four good friends), but updated for the time in life when the ladies are married with children. There was nothing about it that was original or thought provoking. It wasn't difficult to read, but it also wasn't the type of book I was craving to get back to.
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literarymuseVC More than 1 year ago
"One day you just woke up, and there was somewhere you needed to be." So The Ten-Year Nap ends, but there's a long journey for many women that needs to be traveled before they waken to new possibilities. Meg Wolitzer offers the reader a bevy of unique characters who have stayed home with their children during their early and formative years. Whether that scenario was driven by choice, necessity or just a natural evolution, each woman finds meaning in being a "stay at home Mom" but at the same time contemplates what life would have been like had other roads been traveled. Just how does one be a good mother and find meaning in that role when the world seems to have stigmatized such a choice as meaningless next to that of a working woman? What happens to one's married state when one's children become one's almost entire world, a world disconnected from the corporate or business world occupied by one's spouses? Meet Amy Lamb, wife of Leo and mother of Mason. She's madly in love with her precocious son, appreciating the precious and tender moments that would surely be missed if she were to be a working Mom. Because she's made this choice, not one totally supported by Leo, Amy aptly describes their financial situation as the metaphor of a voracious wind tunnel, one in which the bills suck out their meager resources and then fill back in the paychecks they need to support their extravagant lifestyle. Leo's at the top of his mediocre career and would rather just say yes to his wife's demands rather than be considered a husband who can't provide for his family. So resentment and distance expand, never voiced for fear of disappointing the other. Sound familiar? Probably to oh so many men and women living in metropolitan homes with a spectacularly extravagant cost of living. Or perhaps you might relate more to Penny who has fallen out of love with her husband and begun an affair with Ian because his connection with her former artistic world makes her feel more alive than in the humdrum ordinary daily life of a Mom whose biggest divergence from routine will be engaging in the school's Safety Patrol. Even that role presents a frightening, threatening reality for which Penny and Amy are totally unprepared! Jill Hamlin, Amy's best friend, has her own secret to face. She and her husband have adopted a daughter, Nadia, from Siberia, who offers her own unexpected challenge. So what's the matter with Jill who doesn't seem to have all those expected gushy feelings for her adopted daughter? From where looms the large issues of abandonment underscoring this family's life? These are just a few snippets of the plot that forces these women to begin questioning what they are doing in a rapidly changing world which forces change both while they are enjoying their "ten-year nap" and as its end draws near. One even gets a glimpse into the world of woman who straddle the world of work and home, including some humorous scenes such as Maggie Thatcher's exhaustion in her famous office from having to juggle such daunting tasks in a man's tough world. An iconic, memorable novel of a rapidly disappearing lifestyle? Perhaps.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought this book would be interesting, being based on the lives of women who chose to stay home and be mom. I expected to be an enjoyable read. I was dissapointed however by the simple language, and excessive use of the 'F' word. There are so many other respectable words that can be used in a book, it is nothing more than a sign of a lazy writer who finds it necessary to depend on this word to make her points. Furthermore this book discredits the effort put into being a stay at home mom, and demeans the value of marriage. It is a work of fiction, but I still find it distasteful and dissapointing. After reading this book, I would not go back to read anything else by this author.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am so glad I discovered this book and writer, I cant wait to read her other books! I was engrossed in the stories of the women, they were all unique and yet interconnected by their own self doubts. As a middle-aged woman I could relate to a piece of each ones anxieties and struggles to find themselves in the midst of husbands, children, friends and unfullfilled dreams. These women all seem to be sleep walking through their lives *hence the ten year nap*and blaming it on other people. I loved this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I highly recommend 'The Ten-Year Nap' for any woman who has put aside a part of herself, career or otherwise, for motherhood and is curious to read a novel that portrays female characters in this position and what their thoughts and reactions to their situations are. Almost every other paragraph I found myself thinking, 'I've thought that,' or, 'I've done that!' or 'I wanted to do that...' Wolitzer does a thorough job of creating a range of characters who portray various aspects and emotions of motherhood. The interspersing vignettes that describe moments in time from the lives of the main characters' mothers, as well as Georgette Magritte and Nadia Comaneci are interesting as well. However, being a novel, these women do live in the somewhat rarified, upper middle class world of Manhattan which makes their lives and situations more palatable and much more readable than if they lived in Plano, Texas. I rarely read novels these days because I just don't care about the lives of fictional people anymore, but I enjoyed reading about these women because I felt I had so much in common with them. I would rather read this novel about women who give up or put aside careers to raise kids rather than a work of nonfiction that documents the effects and outcomes of this choice. And, Wolitzer does a wicked job of parodying these current, popular non- fiction titles - it's fun to try to figure out which book she is mimicking 'or mocking.'