The Ten-Year Nap by Meg Wokitzer
I’ve just finished reading my second book – an old one – by a woman I fell in literary love with after reading my first: The Wife, by Meg Wolitzer.
If you saw the film of that name, I still recommend you read the book, because even with Glen Close as the title character, the book is better. There’s more drama when readers can make their own pictures from words on a page, far beyond the single view offered up on a screen.
But now: I want to recommend, The Ten-Year Nap, written in 2008, but maybe even better for us today. Because this one took me right back to my own “nap,” those post-career days when raising children became us women’s main occupation. Here’s a decade in the life of four very different women whose only common experience is having boys in the same school. All did “something,” four very different “somethings” after college, and all are now in a very “marking time” decade, hoping and waiting to get back into their various “games” again. Do they do it? Only readers will know for sure! It’s a fat read – almost 400 pages – but it would still make great book club discussion material.
I’ll only tease you here with something that seems always to have been with us, and is still with us today, and Wolitzer pins it: At the fictional Auburn Day School, there’s an annual “Hand-in-Hand Day,” about which Amy, one of those four mothers, says she’d like to wipe it off the calendar. Why? Because “After that single designated day of unity, the white boys would still stay forever with the white, the black with the black, the Hispanic with the Hispanic…” Aren’t we now fighting the very same battles?
There’s nothing like a good book. Meg Wolitzer has written a half-dozen others in addition to the two I’ve mentioned. I’m off now to find another one!
originally published July 19, 2019
updated June 8, 2021