The Ten-Year Nap
by Meg Wolitzer
The four women at the core of the novel, Amy, Jill, Roberta, and Karen, are women whose ages are not specified, but whom I presume to be in their mid-to-late thirties or early forties, since their children range in age from 6 to 10 and they all had careers before motherhood. All four have stayed at home with their children and are now wondering whether they will continue to do so, or whether they will go back to work. By the end of the novel, two of them are back in the workforce and two are not, but the possibility is left open that they, too, will eventually do so.
""That world could be absorbing yet was also pulled along by a current of tedium, and everybody knew it." (328)
". . . like so many people she knew, she'd sought satisfaction around the edges, and time had slid past, and until recently she rarely had been idle and often in fact had been very busy. That life could be so boring, of course, she thought, not unlike the way a job could easily be boring." (pg. 323)
I started out thinking this was a "women's novel" or a "mommy novel," but now that I've finished it I think it's not quite as quantifiable that way. It poses, in some ways, middle-aged "what am I going to be when I grow up" questions that are not gender specific. Through the examples of the women's husbands and fathers (in short flashbacks), we see that they either enjoy work or don't, get a big "break" or don't.
One of the women has the epiphany that just having a job doesn't make you interesting -- having an interesting job makes you interesting. We see that both men and women might have the desire to stay home or might wonder if the things that were important to them when they were in school are still their passions.
This passage made me laugh a bit. I do think my husband would think of boots, eventually: