18/08/2006

That Certain Age (by Elizabeth Buchan)

'That Certain Age' is a pleasant enough light read by Elizabeth Buchan, though not particularly gripping. The book is actually two stories, each told in the first person, switching ever two or three chapters.

Barbara, one of the voices, is a forty-something housewife in the late 1950s. She's reasonably happily married to an airline pilot and has grown-up children whose view of life is somewhat different to hers. Every so often she wonders whether there's more to life than being a traditional housewife, and her worldview begins to change when she meets a young psychologist who introduces her to Freud.

The other voice is that of Siena, a wealthy career-woman in her mid-thirties, in about 2004. She too is happily married, and very busy with a successful fashion-orientated writing column, and potential TV show. However her husband is increasingly eager to slow down and start a family. Siena sees how disruptive children can be, and how depressed some mothers become, and keeps putting it off...

So the novel follows each woman in their very different lifestyles, as they are challenged by the thought of breaking out of the life they have always known.

The people are believable, the writing fast-paced and clear, the plots reasonably satisfying. I found it a bit confusing at first having two entirely separate plots alternating without any clear link, and if I put the book down for a couple of days it wsa a bit difficult to remember who was who, and which story I was in the middle of. Nonetheless, it was reasonably enjoyable - recommended for holiday reading, when you don't want anything too heavy.

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