Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Julie's Review: A Window Opens

Author: Elizabeth Egan
Series: None
Publication Date: August 25, 2015
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Pages: 384
Obtained: from a friend
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Bottom Line: A book that almost everyone can identify with
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab!
Summary: 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) 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 which 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. Readers 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? ~amazon.com

Review: I've never been a stay at home mom/part-time employee to transition to full-time working mom but I can't imagine how hard that would be to do, especially when you liked your life the way it was happening. This is what happens to Alice Pearse when her husband doesn't make partner and wants to go out on his own. It's then that Alice realizes she's going to have to elevate her employment and go for a bigger paycheck.

A Window Opens is the story of a wife, mother, friend and employee who wants to have it all but doesn't really know how to balance it all. Plus one of Alice's favorite children books is by one of my favorite authors, Mo Willems. Alice's current magazine You doesn't have the space or the funds to make her a full-time employee, so she has to look somewhere else for an opportunity. It seems totally kismet that a woman from a new venture, Scroll, gets in contact with her via Twitter. As many people around Alice exclaim "people really find jobs on Twitter", I had the same thought. As she meets with Genevieve, they click and even more excited when she's offered the job.

It's pretty clear from the get go that Alice is out of her element at Scroll. They are a little too focused on acronyms to get any work done. Alice tries her best to fit in but it's not the easiest work environment. Genevieve is pretty much Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde from one minute to the next. It's pretty evident that she doesn't know how to manage or lead by example.

While Alice is trying to find ground at work, the ground at home crumbles beneath her feet. Her husband is struggling with the drink and getting his independent law firm up and going. She fills their recycling bin is more full with empties than his client list is full. Not to mention that her dad isn't doing well right now. She's got a lot of balls up in the air and it waiting for them all to fall down.

Ms. Egan does an excellent job of writing a harried, working woman trying to do it all. Sure she has people to lean on but she certainly feels that the kids are growing up too fast and she's missing out. I found the Scroll concept to be interesting and also very strange. I don't see how you can change concepts so quickly and think the name still applies.

I enjoyed the quick wit of the book and the aspects of a working mom. The marital issues seems a little too quick to be resolved but I'll let that go. I enjoyed her friendship with Susanna and how they rectified their friendship.

If you are looking for a quick, enjoyable read then I can definitely recommend A Window Opens for you.



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