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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

(70)A Window Opens by Elisabeth Egan


Alice Pearse is apprehensive when her husband tells her that he is leaving his job as a successful lawyer to start his own practice.  She knows that their family of five cannot survive on her income as a part-time book editor for a women's magazine, so Alice starts her job search.  She lands at a start-up company called Scroll.  Scroll is the pet project of a large conglomeration that has grandiose ideas of yet again reinventing the way people buy books and read those books.  Alice is beyond thrilled to be part of such an endeavor and when she receives a first edition of her favorite book on her first day she is sure that she has found the perfect job.  Scroll is demanding of both Alice's time and energy.  She has to sacrifice the majority of her duties at home to her husband and their nanny, Jessie.  She works long and exhausting hours, but she does it because she believes in the mission of the company. And then her father's cancer returns, life at home is falling completely apart, and the company she was so proud to work for has changed their vision.  Alice is heartbroken about her father and torn between providing for her family and honoring her true self.  And will her marriage survive everything that is being thrown at them?

I really, really, really enjoyed A Window Opens. I didn't realize it until I had finished the book and was able to digest everything that I realized it was one of the best books of the year.  Unfortunately I completely understand what it is like to become disillusioned with a company that you thought was a perfect fit for you. There is a huge sense of disappointment and coming to that realization could bring even the strongest of women to their knees.  Alice tried to hang on for as  long as she could and that was admirable.  She kept hoping that Scroll would turn around and be the company she believed they could be.   Bibliophiles are going to love this book.  There are so many references to popular books both past and present.  It feels like Alice is truly one of us.   And it was so telling when her husband pointed out that she hadn't really read for pleasure since taking the job at Scroll.  Any bibliophile will tell you that not reading is the sign of true distress.   There were some heartbreaking points in the book, but I was content with the way things were wrapped up.  A bit inspiring even.

Bottom line - A Window Opens is an introspective look about one woman's struggle with fulfillment and the struggle of maintaining a work/life balance.  Book club patrons are going to find  lots to discuss with this one.  A definite must read!

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