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
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 bybecause 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 livesas daughters doin 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
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.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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
"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