My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Sum it up in a sentence (or two): On the surface, the story of the Castlemans' trip to Helsinki, where Joe will receive and award and Joan decides she wants to leave him. Deeper, the story of the Castlemans' entire relationship, and how their marriage brought them to this point.
First thoughts: I couldn't decide if I felt bad for Joan, or if I felt that her life was the natural consequence of her own decisions. Her marriage, while awful, wasn't as simple as an inattentive husband. Neither were her reasons for wanting to leave as simple as two people growing apart.
Question for the author: Where do you come up with all of these characters?? I've read a lot of Meg Wolitzer's books in the past few years, and all of her characters are different. They're all complete, mostly dynamic people. How? I'm jealous.
"Language only felt intimate; instead, everyone swam through surprisingly narrow channels when they spoke or wrote." -p110
"'Listen,' we say. 'Everything will be okay.' And then, as if our lives depend on it, we make sure it is." -p184
Final Thoughts: [spoilers] That last line is creepy - Joan could start writing on her own, but with her words: "Joe was a great writer, I'll always miss him,"...she's not admitting to being the source of all Joe's talent. When she returns to America, no one has to even know she was going to leave him, let alone that she is the real writer between the two of them. This is a frustrating story of stifled ambitions.
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