Wolitzer’s terrific novel follows the lives of four women who have left the workforce to raise children. Amy Lamb, Jill Hamlin, Roberta Sokolov and Karen Yip are all talented, highly educated, happily married New Yorkers when their babies arrive. And those babies change everything. Suddenly the twelve-week maternity leave is insufficient; each woman, with varying degrees of remorse and financial security, leaves the workforce to tend her offspring.
Wolitzer’s over arching theme is the arguable failure of Feminism: yes, women can now be nearly anything they wish (glass ceiling notwithstanding), but somehow somebody forgot about childcare. Yes, men are getting better about equal parenting, but the workforce in general is achingly slow to accommodate those women who, at the height of their careers, are also anxiously feeling their biological clocks ticking. So the hot young lawyer/doctor/statistician/artist “drops out.” It’s only temporary, she reassures herself. Besides there is the child, or children, who, when small, demand every waking (and often sleeping) moment.
The full review is here.