Thursday, June 09, 2011

Book Review: Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakthrough

 Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakthrough by Ruth Pennebaker takes a unique perspective on a family of three generations living together. Joanie, the woman in the middle generation and the bread-winner, is dealing with her ex-husband who’s having a baby with his girlfriend, her mother who’s moved in with her for financial reasons, her daughter who’s experiencing her horrible teen years, and a co-worker who’s putting the moves on her.

The tale is often funny, sometimes rather heart-breaking, and will make most of us glad we’re not Joanie. But don’t think Ivy, the grandmother, or Caroline, the daughter, are out to get Joanie. They’re just living their lives, trying to survive like everyone else. Caroline is trying to be something other than the invisible girl at school. Ivy wants to be seen, too, as a whole person, not an old person having to live with her daughter. Pennebaker has even drawn the ex-husband’s girlfriend as a three-dimensional character with her own problems and fears.

Each character is well-drawn and believable. I think it doesn’t matter whether you’re young, older, or the generation in-between, you would like the book and identify with the characters. (Although if you buy it for your daughter, I recommend you read it first since it does have some language and scenes you’d want to check out.) But no matter which generation you identify with, you’ll find yourself wondering if they can ever come together. Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakthrough is character driven and the three main characters are up to the drive through the hills and valleys of life and family.

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakthrough
Amazon -- paperback or Kindle
Barnes & Noble - paperback and Nook

I give Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakthrough a rating of Hel-of-a-Story. It’s a book I wish I’d written.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
FTC Disclaimer: I bought Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakthrough with my own money. This did not influence my review, only my pocketbook. I was early to a meeting, so I stopped at a bookstore and wandered the aisles. The author’s name on the book caught my eye since I know her from way-back but haven’t talked to her in quite a while. Another thing that caught my eye was the Discussion Questions at the back of the book. By adding just twelve questions, Pennebaker has made this an easy choice for book groups. I think that’s something to think about when you’re writing your own book.

23 comments:

  1. What's funny is my aunt was in a situation almost identical to that!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Love the catchy title and enjoyed your review. Sounds like a down-to-earth book.

    Mason
    Thoughts in Progress
    Freelance Editing By Mason

    ReplyDelete
  3. Diane, I think more and more women are finding themselves sandwiched between the generations. It's a very
    relevant book.

    Mason, I liked the title too. I love catchy titles.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I agree. It's a very relevant book. More and more adult children have moved back home as well as aging parents. And grandparents in many cases are raising their grandchildren. It's enough to give the breadwinners in the middle a nervous breakdown.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Well said, Jean. I'm not there, but I imagine it's rather like being in a pressure cooker.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Living with dogs is much easier. You can push them outside if they annoy you.
    Ann

    ReplyDelete
  7. I agree with Mason, that title is such that you couldn't pass it by on the bookshelf and, based, on this review, I won't.
    Karen

    ReplyDelete
  8. Dang, another catchy title ... how do these people think of these things?

    ReplyDelete
  9. Not my style of book, but your disclaimer rocks!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hi Helen .. glad Alex made his comment .. as I checked back!! Ok - good for you in selecting what seems a really interesting read - and possibly applies to so many families in different ways.

    Enjoyed the review and I'm sure there's loads to be learnt from it .. thanks Hilary

    ReplyDelete
  11. Gosh, the title is enough to draw me in, even before I read your review! And I'm glad to see it's on Kindle.

    I designed a set of questions for the end of my novel, but I had a unanimous report back from my beta readers that it made them feel like they had a school test to answer. May be I should have left them in. Or maybe I made them too complicated. But this is definitely something I'll consider for my next story.

    Judy, South Africa

    ReplyDelete
  12. Cozy in Texas - dogs and husbands.

    Christopher, that's it! Call your next book, "Really Catchy Title".

    It seems to me that if the questions come at the end, people won't even notice them until they finish the book. I didn't notice these in this book until then.

    ReplyDelete
  13. This sounds like a book for every generation of women. I love to read about women's relationships - they're so complicated at times.

    ReplyDelete
  14. They are complicated. And sometimes they seem most complicated when it's family.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Helen -- Thank you so much for this great and thoughtful review.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Love the sound of this book - read and funny and heartbreaking at times - just like life! :)

    ReplyDelete
  17. Sounds very interesting. Though the situation isn't like mine I am that middle generation dealing with an aging mother and a teenage daughter. Thanks goodness my daughter is wonderful and I have six siblings to help with mom.

    ReplyDelete
  18. You're welcome Ruth. I've also posted the review on Amazon, B&N and GoodReads.

    It definitely helps to have siblings, doesn't it Susan! I come from a family of four girls.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I like the idea of the author including book club questions at the end ... Authors really seem to need to go the extra mile these days, and this looks like an engaging way to do that.

    ReplyDelete
  20. That's true Joanne. It made me wonder if I should be considering that.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Thanks for the review. I love a great title and this one is terrific. As an action lover, I do require a certain level of character driven writing. Sometimes in life all we can do is fight to survive and wait for those moments when life gets a whole lot better.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I have read some other reviews of this book and have been tempted as I really enjoy this kind of story. But do you know how many books I already have in my house to read? I am not a young woman. I could die before I read them all. LOL

    Your review is pushing me... pushing me....

    ReplyDelete
  23. Congratulations, Ruth! This sounds like a great story. Women are said to be better pain bearer than men. When they are on the verge of a nervous breakthrough, we expect great sparks coming alive.

    Chemical Fusion

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...