June 10, 2009

Speaking of SAHM's

I've been a fan of Meg Wolitzer's for a very long time, beginning back in high school when I read her YA novel, Sleepwalking. It's one of those YA novels that's way more A(dult) than Y(oung). And her The Wife is a brilliant skewering of the male ego, professional writers and the Breadloaf Writer's Conference.

In the The Ten Year Nap, Wolitzer turns her attention to stay-at-home moms, specifically the type who have college degrees and thriving careers, and still choose to become full-time caregivers when their children are born. I wish I'd liked this book more, I'd been eagerly looking for it for awhile --- but frankly, I was a bit bored, and not because of the subject matter. (As a SAHM myself -- see previous post), I find others in my millieu a fairly fascinating subject. I think part of the problem is that the "mommy wars" and its debates between "opt-out" moms vs. working mothers has been mostly played out, at least in the media.

Even if this subject is somewhat played out, I do continue to wish for a literary novel (as opposed to Jennifer Weiner's sort of breezy chick-lit) that deals with moms of the true suburbs in an honest way. The women depicted here are all located in Manhattan, and the one mom from the group who has moved away to a nearby 'burb is portrayed as lonely and isolated, living in some sort of cultural wasteland, when she's a mere train ride from the city. (Please -- you want cultural wasteland -- try nearly 2 hours outside of L.A.)

I read it from beginning to end, and liked the women well enough, but in the end, felt that I was being mildly chastized for my choice of being a SAHM -- as the slight put-down of the title suggests, Wolitzer seems to feel that women at home are sleepwalking a bit through life and HEY, JUST BECAUSE THAT'S A LITTLE TRUE, I still wish that her fictional women in real NYC just felt a little more real, a little less like sociological examples of Wolitzer's thesis that real "work," and a passionate calling, are the true paths to female happiness.

And, truth be told, I do agree with her thesis -- and The Ten Year Nap has many insightful, witty and revealing moments -- but nobody like to be scolded, especially when isn't really that conflicted or regretful about the choices she's made.

No comments :

Post a Comment

Thanks for commenting! :)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Blogger Template by Designer Blogs