Throughout the course of the book, it becomes obvious that both women are lonely for friendship and neither one of them is truly fulfilled by her choice. But they each feel that to openly admit the difficulties and imperfections of her life would only prove the other’s choice right and their actual experiences are therefore left unspoken. This rings true to life.
One of the most interesting moments in the story is when Thea and Amanda both let their guard down late one night, allowing themselves to comfort each other; their closeness rapidly becomes so strong that it evokes passion. I believe this symbolizes how desperately hungry women are for real connection and support from each other. The need for understanding and compassion is palpable both in this book and among women everywhere.
I found the story to be somewhat biased towards the stay-at-home-mother. Although Thea was not fully satisfied at home and desperately needed to make some changes, she rarely coveted her neighbor’s working life. Amanda, on the other hand, seemed to constantly question her choice to work, wondering if she should throw in the towel, and did not apparently find much satisfaction in her work. As a happy part-time working mom, this portrayal – though certainly true for some moms - was disappointing to me.
Overall, Ms. Gross has produced a well-written, thought-provoking novel that is an enjoyable read. Thea’s character development was particularly interesting to follow. I recommend it as an excellent choice for women’s book clubs and discussion groups.