CBR Bingo – Adulthood
Laurie Colwin is a writer I had never heard of, but this book was gifted to me by my husband who heard about it on an NPR interview when another author said it was their favorite book of all time and he thought I might like it (I know, so sweet. Don’t tell him I told you). This book will not race to the top of my “favorite of all time” list but I did enjoy it and am glad to know her story. Colwin died suddenly at the young age of 48 of an aortic aneurysm. In the 1980s and 90s, she was well known for her non-fiction food writing, but her fiction captivated audiences with her realistic portrayals of womanhood and life in New York.
Now onto the book: this is the story of a crisis of character for Polly, who has all the trappings of a successful life: comes from a good family, a successful lawyer husband, and mother to two beautiful children. She works out of the home, though her pushy mother doesn’t understand why, and to any who know her she is the perfect caretaker of all in her world. But Polly is secretly unfulfilled and begins an affair with a family friend.
Let’s address the funny elephant in the room: my husband gifted me a book about a 40-year-old woman who is in the midst of a mid-life crisis and has an affair. (Rimshot). That said I found this book very relatable (not in THAT way) because Polly’s struggles with trying to be and do it all are timeless for the modern American woman.
Tonally this series was sort of a blend between one of my favorite YA series, Cynthia Voigt’s Tillerman Cycle, and (a much less tragic) Revolutionary Road, as we watch Polly wrestle with isolation and obligation and awakening. Much like Dicey in the Tillerman Cycle, we see Polly come to terms with her choices and the weight of family as she decides where and how she can make a stand for her own wants and needs.
Overall I liked this book and the writing and wish that Colwin had more time to gift us with her thoughtful and introspective novels.