Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakthrough by Ruth Pennebaker
Joanie may be having a nervous breakdown. She deserves a nervous breakdown. About to turn fifty, everything has changed. Her husband, Richard, has moved out, saying he doesn't want any commitments, and then instantly shows up with a new girlfriend barely out of her teens. And by the way, said girlfriend is pregnant and wants to get married.
Joanie has gotten a job in an ad agency; she managed to land it after three weeks of looking and years at home. BUT, she works with an office full of Gen X and Gen Y coworkers who look at her as if it is a miracle she manages to make it out of her creaky rocking chair each day. She doesn't like the job, but needs it.
Her mom, Ivy, has moved in due to the recession and losing her life savings. Far from being a help, she still feels it is her job to criticize every move Joanie makes, and even insists on calling her Roxanne, a name Joanie ditched as soon as she possibly could. Ivy spends hours on the Internet and has a fresh disaster to inform Joanie about every day.
Then there is Caroline. Caroline, a typical fifteen year old, which means she ignores Joanie when she can and treats her to sullenness and sarcasm when she can't. Joanie sees underneath the angst to the girl trying to learn how to become a woman and crushed by her father's betrayals.
Ruth Pennebaker lovingly narrates the life of many middle-aged women. Despite the woes, readers will laugh out loud at her portrayals, especially mothers of teenage daughters. The book is optimistic and entertaining and recommended for all readers interested in how to manage life transitions.