Grade: C - 14 and up (mild language and sexual reference)
Meg Wolitzer takes a realistic look at the lives and thoughts of stay at home mothers in The Ten Year Nap . The title to this book I found slightly offensive at first. I have been home with my children for ten years, and I would think 'Ten years without a nap' would be a more accurate title for the story of my life. Because of this, I was unsure that I would agree with the conclusions drawn in the book. But as there are no conclusions drawn, this was not so much of an issue.
The story follows the lives of four women who have opted to stay home and be full time mother's to their children. At this point in their lives, their children are in school for most of the day, and have become much more independent. This leaves the mothers feeling rather out of sorts and out of place. Guiltly. Trying to find a purpose and figure out how and when and why to get back into the work force or find something meaningful to do. The book was also interspersed with clips into the lives of the mothers of these women, and their fight for feminism.
I don't know if it was the intent of the author, but what I took away from it was the mixed blessing the feminist movement was. Yes, women have more freedom and more respect in the man's world, but now they are expected to do it all, and invariably a ball will be dropped. Someone or something will suffer: the children; the marriage; the job. But if you decide not to try and have it all, and to stay home with your children full time, then you are looked down upon, taught to think less of what you are doing.
To me Wolitzer's answer seems to be the next generation, the up and coming mothers. She seems to think that the feminist mindset has finally reached the men. She points out men who take equal responsibility in the raising of the children and the household tasks, or even decide to stay at home, and let the mothers work. Well, maybe in New York this is true, but I don't think it has reached Wyoming yet.
There was not much of a plot to this book, it felt more like just watching these woman's lives. The writing was very detailed and academic. Overall a book to make you think, but not one which draws conclusions, or really raises a definite point.