One of the greatest things about writing this blog has been the opportunity to meet some really great authors. I had a wonderful chance to chat on the phone with MEG WOLITZER, author of The Ten Year Nap and although I was supposed to be conducting an interview, I felt like I was making a new friend.
Meg likes Bob Dylan, The Beatles and the Zombies. Two of her favourite movies are Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore and The Wizard of Oz. Her favourite books include Brideshead Revisited, The Bell Jar, The Great Gatsby and Valley of the Dolls and Middlemarch. She is a wordsmith who plays Scrabble almost everyday.
And, she likes Chicklit, especially the writers she has termed the "Pink Ladies" – British writers such as Marian Keyes, Sophie Kinsella and Helen Fielding of Bridget Jones fame – whose book covers are usually bubble gum pink. and she has written and published 8 literary novels of her own. Aside from the 8 novels, I could be Meg Wolitzer. Well that, and the fact that I am 7 years younger, have two more children in my house, live in Toronto instead of New York, graduated from Queen’s instead of Brown, summer in Muskoka instead of Long Island and am not nearly as smart.
What I really liked about Meg, was her admission that she was a bit judgemental about stay at home moms before she started writing her book and learned a lot about herself, her beliefs and everyone’s personal struggles to live a life of meaning.
The title, The Ten Year Nap, is based on the 10 years that the 4 main characters, Amy Lamb, Roberta Sokolov, Karen Yip and Jill Hamlin have taken from their careers in order to raise their children.
Each character narrates her own story and the reader learns first hand of her struggles. Most of them centre around self-worth although Amy has financial concerns, Roberta begins to envy her husband’s new found success, Karen tries to deal with her own parents who are disappointed with her lack of return of the work force, and Jill worries about her adopted daughter and her own parenting skills when she seems unable to force the mother-daughter bond which she assumed would be so natural.
These stories are interlaced with the perspective of previous generations who had their own battles with feminism, careers and the motherhood, wife and work balance.
Although Meg Wolitzer is a reader of Chicklit, her novels are literary in nature. She takes her time in developing a scene and creates evocative moods and pictures that enhance the plot of each character. Her novel is character driven and the reader becomes engrossed in each woman’s struggle to achieve harmony with herself, her family and her life. There is some humour, some tears, some smut, some romance, a lot of growth and a lot of friendship. A perfect read for moms, any season.