Sometimes a story demands that sleep must be sacrificed. Elisabeth Egan's novel, A Window Opens, was practically glued to my hands because I couldn't bear to stop reading. It's really that good. Thank You to Simon & Schuster for gifting me with an advanced copy of Egan's novel in exchange for an honest review.
PLOT - Alice Pearse is living a happy life. She has a good marriage and she enjoys working as a part time editor at a lifestyle magazine. As the mother of three young children, she feels that she has struck a good balance between having a career and taking care of her family.
When her husband suddenly decides to quit his job at a high profile law firm, Alice must take a stab at being the primary breadwinner. She manages to land a job at an exciting new start-up called Scroll. Scroll promises to be the future for booklovers, offering fancy, quiet reading lounges for the e-reader set. Before taking the job, Alice is assured that Scroll's aim is to exist alongside traditional bookstores.
As the months pass, her new job begins to take its toll. Alice can't find work-life balance and she beings to rethink the concept of "having it all". She grows out of touch with her kids and friends, her marriage starts to fall apart, and her father has cancer. To top it off, Scroll is shifting its priorities and it's not the same company as when Alice signed on. Can Alice find balance before she completely breaks?
LIKE- Rarely does a book make me cry. Oh my goodness, I cried buckets with A Window Opens. It was a very cathartic experience for me, as Egan nails the emotions and scenarios involving caring for and losing a parent. As much as I struggled to put this book down, there were many moments where I had to set it aside for a quick breather, as I was too emotional to continue reading.
On a light, fun note; Alice comes up with an idea for new books to be sold in house parties, like Tupperwear. I love this! Does it exist? Can it exist and can I go to people's houses and tell them all about my favorite new books? This would be a dream job. A company really ought to start this up. The concept is gold.
What really works and what drew me into Egan's story world, is that her characters and situations felt so real. I have no doubt that someone ( probably Barnes and Noble) is trying to get Scroll-esque reading lounges into every mall. Alice's struggle mirrors those of many of my friends. Even without having kids, I can understand the frustrations with trying to find balance in life. Alice isn't perfect, but she's trying to get it right and she does it with a good dose of humor. She's an incredibly rounded and likable protagonist, which kept me keyed into her story.
DISLIKE - Nothing. A Window Opens is one of my top reads of the year.
RECOMMEND - I've just finished it, but I've already recommended A Window Opens to many friends. Egan has crafted an affecting and beautiful story about the importance of relationships, family and finding your personal sense of zen. It's a wonderful story about picking yourself up, when you feel like you've shattered into a million pieces! It's real, honest and up-lifting.