If someone claimed this story as an autobiography, or a piece of non-fiction writing, I’m sure most readers would believe it. The characters are so real, and the situations so plausible, that reading the story is a pleasure. There are no secret love affairs between this happily married couple, because they are happily married. The drama in their lives comes from real life situations that happen to most of us as we age.
Parents are getting older, the job is less satisfying, and routines are less agreeable. However, the enormous family bond that holds all the generations together, although a bit frayed at times, does ensure that support and love are always forthcoming.
The book is divided into sections called Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter. The story begins when we meet the main characters of the story, Alice, and her husband, Nicholas. Nicholas is a lawyer, and has a very steady job. However, he has just left his boss in no uncertain terms. This means the household income will be drastically reduced. Alice works for a Book Shop run by a friend of hers, spending two days there a week. Until Nicholas can set up his own law practice, they will have no income and so Alice will need to get a full time job. With three young children and an energetic dog to feed, she needs to find work quickly.
Alice has come from a family of readers, and her earliest memories are sharing books with her dad. For this reason, she has a great dislike of Electronic games and devices. Her Mantra is “We are a family who read.” So, it is with great delight that she accepts a position with a new glitzy firm, who want to set up book reading lounges all around the country. From the beginning, Alice is inundated with text messages and workloads that are enormous. She is forever running to fit in all her work, and adjusting to the abbreviated world of high flyers.
As a devoted wife and mother, Alice thinks she can do it all, with help from a fabulous young babysitter, and her husband. Walking a tightrope is fine when all goes well, but Alice has some bad news from her beloved father, the firm gradually begins to change directions and the children begin to resent her absence, as does Nicholas. There is no miracle, or change of fortune, but common sense and love keep this family together.
Although Alice undergoes many tough times, the story is written with kindness towards each other and gentle love. There is a beautiful wry humour which penetrates the sometimes gloomy moments. When Alice’s young daughter is asked by the teacher what religion she is, she replies, “Half Jewish, half Christmas.”
|Publisher||Simon & Schuster|
|Distributor||Simon And Schuster|