by Jennifer Weiner – Wow, does Jennifer Weiner know how to write a novel about women’s lives that packs a wallop or what?! This is a powerful story, with four very different women leading very different lives, yet somehow Weiner makes them real and multifaceted… and the overlapping places in their worlds feel right. With a deft touch, Weiner has avoided the usual pitfalls of stereotype* and so-called “chick lit,” while giving us glimpses inside the lives and psyches of her individual protagonists.
The point of view changes with every chapter, as all four women take up the story in the two-or-so years the novel covers. The shift between them is fluid and feels natural. I grew to care about the characters, to ache for them in the difficult places, and to want them to find happiness.
And the final chapter, set forward about six years to 2017, brought tears to my eyes.
A very satisfying read, which I recommend without hesitation.
* Okay, she does indulge in one bit of stereotype in the person of a secondary character who (before our story started) divorced her very wealthy husband and left her high-society life and three adult children to move to an ashram in New Mexico with her guru/boyfriend. Even so, the woman is given enough range to avoid caricature. (finished 7/18/14)