Fans of I Don't Know How She Does It and Where'd You Go, Bernadette? will cheer at this "fresh, funny take on the age-old struggle to have it all" (People) and about what happens when a wife and mother of three leaps at the chance to fulfill her professional destiny - only to learn every opportunity comes at a price.
In A Window Opens, beloved books editor at Glamour magazine, Elisabeth Egan, brings us Alice Pearse, a compulsively honest, longing-to-have-it-all, sandwich generation heroine for our social media-obsessed, lean in (or opt out) age. Like her fictional forebears, Kate Reddy and Bridget Jones, Alice plays many roles (which she never refers to as "wearing many hats" and wishes you wouldn't, either). She is a mostly happily married mother of three, an attentive daughter, an ambivalent dog owner, a part-time editor, a loyal neighbor, and a Zen commuter. She is not: a cook, a craftswoman, a decorator, an active PTA member, a natural caretaker, or the breadwinner. But, when her husband makes a radical career change, Alice is ready to lean in - and she knows exactly how lucky she is to land a job at Scroll, a hip, young start-up that promises to be the future of reading, with its chain of chic literary lounges and dedication to beloved classics. The Holy Grail of working mothers - an intellectually satisfying job and a happy personal life - seems suddenly within reach.
Despite the disapproval of her best friend, who owns the local bookstore, Alice is proud of her new "balancing act" (which is more like a three-ring circus) until her dad gets sick, her marriage flounders, her babysitter gets fed up, her kids start to grow up, and her work takes an unexpected turn. Listeners will cheer as Alice realizes the question is not whether it's possible to have it all, but what does she - Alice Pearse - really want?
©2015 Elisabeth Egan. All rights reserved. (P)2015 Simon & Schuster
"A winning, heartfelt debut." (Good Housekeeping)
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"Not riveting, sometimes tedious"
This is a story detailing the generally mundane events in the life of Alice Pearse, typical to the lives of many working mothers juggling careers and motherhood. Of course there are some life changing events as well. The writing is decent but not great, and for me there were too many mundane details that did not advance the story. There really isn't that much plot, so it is more a story about the characters. Unfortunately, I didn't really bond with Alice as much as I would like, given that the story is told in first person. She had a bit of an attitude toward others that seemed harsh. So, not a bad listen, but I speeded up to 1.25X about 1/4 of the way through and kept it there. I guess it just wasn't particularly my cup of tea.
"Male voices very jarring"
No - I don't listen to a story a second time.
I loved the references to books, authors, and places.
I thought the performance was excellent when she was an adult female voice.
There were many aspects that were easy to relate to.
I thought the male voices were absolutely ridiculous and that somewhat spoiled the listening experience for me. I think that a straight narration or using a male actor would have been far better.
"Male voices sounded ridiculous"
I really liked the story and the narration with the exception of the make characters sounded totally unnatural .
"Surprised that I love this book so!"
Could be you. (Or me.) Which is more than three words. But not really. Parentheses don't count. Didn't you know? Shh...it's our secret.
This book fits really nicely into a bookshelf with Lauren Groff's "Fates and Furies," and the beautiful "Did You Ever Have a Family?" by Bill Clegg. Also the luminous "The Mare" by Mary Gaitskill, whih has many of the same dramatic elements--long-tme married couples struggling to figure out their place in the world. This bookshelf makes up an amazing rading list.
I can never answer this question--books have too many of these. And one doesn't want to ruin the plot for someone else. Having said that, there was a moment in the book when the main character is talking about her kids getting older, and thinking she's about to enjoy a really liberating time in her life--only to have a parent get diagnosed with a terminal illness. This is exactly where I am in my life and it felt so personal, and deeply touhing to me to read about someone else going through it.There are a lot of funny moments in this book revolving around the company that book lover Alice goes to work for. It's sort of a "Google Meets Amazon Meets Apple Meets..." There are some very wry jabs at this culture, especially in terms of their company-speak, almost always in acronyms. I also love some of the funny exchanges between Alice and her kids, who use language in other humorous ways. All in all, just a very good use of a credit.
I would take main character Alice to dinner, one because she could use a night out, and two, because I would love to hear her talk about the books she loves.
This book sat in my library for months before I finally read it. I think the cover reminded me of another book I hadn't liked at all. I'm so glad I finally took the plunge.
I find myself thinking of this book not in a raving "Oh my God, I LOED this book" way. But rather in a very tender way. I loved this book. It touched me.By the way, I loved Julia Whelan's narration. Here, I AM raving. She doesn't have a big trunk full of different voices. She simply reads, in a beautiful voice, the story. Kind of the way you'd want someone to read to you if you were sick in bed and wanted a story. Five stars to her.
"Really enjoyed this read / listen"
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I particularly enjoyed all the bookish mentions, from past favourite reads (All-of-a-Kind Family) to making mental notes of books I have yet to read (The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks). I identified with the main character, but must admit that towards the end found her a bit more self-centered than I would have liked. I found the ending predictable.
I thought Julia Whelan did a good job - I found her voice quite soothing, although I thought all of her male characters sounded the same and once or twice thought she missed talking in the children's voices.
I would read another book by Elisabeth Egan and definitely listen to another narrated by Julia Whelan.
"Feel like this is so typical for working moms."
Feel like this is so typical for working moms. We get guilt and criticism because we want or need to work. We are expected to do it all and when we can’t we are terrible moms/wives/friends/co-workers.
Some moms have no choice to work, even if you hate the job. It’s not fair that expectations are harder for moms. It’s a terrible double standard that we live under…”she’s just a mom and doesn’t work hard/she spends more time at work than home”
Other moms do have great support and choices. Therefore they can leave their job and work on their own or start their business.
Think so many working moms can relate to this book.
This was predictable and pedestrian. I am not sure how I even finished it. There were no surprises and it was unbelievable.
An adult that is embarrassed to be seen with her father because he has a medical condition? Give me a break. Not one of the characters is likable so I really didn't care what happened to them. I gave up on the book.
I thought Bernadette was eh. This was torture. The protagonist was deplorable but seems intended to have been relatable. As if a woman having to get a job just when her school-age children are just becoming 'easy' has endured some hardship worthy of sympathy. And then working the shittiest high-paying job one can imagine in order to afford boutique yogurts, a job that fell into her lap via Twitter and that never occurred to her to leave? Some actual human women have the outrageous forethought to search and interview for multiple positions in order to find work that is both intellectually stimulating and aligned with one's larger priorities in life. Was this whole book meant to be ironic?
There was too much privilege devoid of self-awareness for me to take this seriously, so in that sense it has a lot in common with Bernadette. But in this one the character was meant to be a great reader so you might hope for some recognition of her cushy spot on this small planet.
And the writing. Cliche after cliche. It was embarrassing. And the male voices. Oh God.
"I wanted to love it...."
The general story was too perfect. Everything works out in the end and that is not realistic
Blahhh. I was so happy for her but it was unbelievable
Not do the male voices. At all. Had they even brought in an actual male it would have been better. It was distracting
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