Title: Women on the verge of a nervous breakthrough
Author: Ruth Pennebaker
Source: Review Copy
Publisher: Berkley (January 4, 2011)
Rating: 3.75 out of 5
When 3 generation of women who cannot stand each other have to live under the same roof, you can definitely expect some entertainment. That’s exactly what we get in Women on the verge of a nervous breakthrough. For a minute I thought this would be a self help book, but not really. It’s a story about 3 completely different women and how they go through their almost nervous breakdowns and subsequent breakthrough’s.
Joanie is in her late 40’s and has just gone through a divorce with her long time husband Richard because he cheated on her with a girl in her 20’s. Her mother Ivy whom Joanie is not very close to has also come to stay with her. Her teenage daughter Caroline is trying to come to terms with her parents’ divorce in her own way which has created a distance between mother and daughter. In addition to all this, Joanie has to take up an advertising job after years of staying at home. Obviously she is on an all time low.
All these three women are annoying and endearing at the same time. With her marriage broken, Joanie is always complaining and although you understand why, you wish she would just stop for a minute. But then she is also trying to get her life back on track by getting a job and working towards her issues by joining a divorce group. I disliked Ivy for always nagging Joanie and Caroline and finding faults in everything Joanie did. She’s also more biased towards her son even though its Joanie who has taken her in after she lost all her savings. On the other hand you also feel bad for her because she’s lost everything and has come to her daughter to stay. Caroline is a teenager, so obviously she is irritating and annoying and all that but you also feel bad for her because she feels invisible in school and everything is not good at the home front too.
As the novel progresses, each of these three women realize the worth of the other as they come to terms with their own loss and realize the value of the other. The author, Ruth Pennebaker, has written a thoroughly entertaining book and although the circumstances are depressing, no where does the book become overbearing or boring. I didn’t find it laugh out loud funny as written on the book cover but I did make me smile at places. Initially I was a little worried that I wouldn’t like the book because the characters were so unlikable. But as the book progressed and the layers peeled you realize they have their own charm.
The author has managed to show the fragile thread by which these relationships are hanging by and how they reluctantly work towards their differences and misunderstandings. Definitely give this book a try if you interested in reading about relationships between women.