About Me

Ithaca, New York
MWF, now officially 42, loves long walks on the beach and laughing with friends ... oh, wait. By day, I'm a mid-level university administrator reluctant to be more specific on a public forum. Nights and weekends, though, I'm a homebody with strong nerdist leanings. I'm never happier than when I'm chatting around the fire, playing board games, cooking up some pasta, and/or road-tripping with my family and friends. I studied psychology and then labor economics in school, and I work in higher education. From time to time I get smug, obsessive, or just plain boring about some combination of these topics, especially when inequality, parenting, or consumer culture are involved. You have been warned.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

#19: Fly Away Home

Fly Away Home, by Jennifer Weiner (New York: Atria Books, 2010).

"When Sylvie Serfer met Richard Woodruff in law school, she had wild curls, wide hips, and lots of opinions. Decades later, Sylvie has remade herself as the ideal politician's wife -- her hair dyed and straightened, her hippie-chick wardrobe replaced by tailored knit suits. At fifty-seven, she ruefully acknowledges that her job is staying twenty pounds thinner than when she was in her twenties and tending to her husband, the senator.

"Lizzie, the Woodruff's younger daughter, is at twenty-four a recovering addict, whose mantra HALT (Hungry? Angry? Lonely? Tired?) helps her keep her life under control. Still, trouble always seems to find her. Her older sister, Diana, an emergency room physician, has everything Lizzie failed to achieve -- a husband, young son, the perfect home -- and yet she's trapped in a loveless marriage. With temptation waiting in one of the ER's exam rooms, she finds herself craving more.

"After Richard's extramarital affair makes headlines, the three women are drawn into the painful glare of the national spotlight. Once the press conference is over, each is forced to reconsider her life, who she is and who she is meant to be.

"Written with an irresistible blend of heartbreak and hilarity, Fly Away Home is an unforgettable story of a mother and two daughters who after a lifetime of distance finally learn to find refuge in one another."

Opening Line:
"Breakfast in five-star hotels was always the same."

My Take:

I forget what movie prompted it, but years ago, I remember some reviewer or other calling Reese Witherspoon "the thinking man's cupcake." While I don't care for cupcakes personally, the phrase stuck with me; sometimes, we all just want to be entertained. And sometimes, my taste in books is downright girly. Case in point: the works of Jennifer Weiner. Literary they ain't, but they're not Harlequin romance novels, either; for the most part, the characters are multifaceted and the story lines plausible (even if they tend not to appeal to those with a Y chromosome). While the title comes from a way overused nursery rhyme (didn't Marge Piercy do that years ago? And I'm sure she's not the only one), Fly Away Home was an evening's worth of good, clean, simple, escapist fun.

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