Tuesday, June 12, 2018

(45)Marriage Vacation by Pauline Turner Brooks



If you haven't been watching Younger on TVLand then you are missing out. Set in New York City, the half-hour comedy features Sutton Foster as a fortysomething trying to get back to the career she had in publishing before getting married and raising a family. In order to even get a job as an assistant, she has to pass herself off as twenty-six.  And she does so.  Now it is in Season 5 and the estranged wife of her boss, Charles Brooks, is back from her "Marriage Vacation" and she has written a book that Empirical Press is going to publish.  The problem is that Pauline Turner Brooks' fictional book dangerously mirrors the "real life" of Charles and Pauline.

In the book Marriage Vacation, Kate Carmichael is married to the successful publisher, Carl Carmichael.  She has two beautiful young daughters.  A fabulous townhouse on Manhattan's Upper Eastside and has all of the money she could possibly want to do whatever she wants.  Yet she feels so empty, so unfulfilled.  Kate has the chance to travel solo to California for a wedding she doesn't really find herself eager to return home.  When her old college friend offers her a chance to go to Thailand she decides to go.  Soon one week goes by without returning home, then two weeks, and then six months.  She has made friends, has spent time finding herself and the independent woman she left behind when she married her husband. And then she receives a letter in the mail.  It has been almost a year and her husband wants a divorce.  The shock of it jolts Kate and starts her on her return trip home.  But is she prepared for what might be the fate of her marriage?

I can see where a book like Marriage Vacation might resonate with a lot of readers, both on Younger and in real life, but I really struggled with liking Kate.  I can understand the needing a break from the stressors of being a  wife and mother in the pressure cooker that is the Upper Eastside, but to leave her family and obligations for a full year?  And then be shocked when her husband wants a divorce?  Bitch, please.  Now, knowing that the book is a thinly veiled look at the fictional life of Pauline Turner Brooks makes it very hard to even like the character that is Charles' wife.  Ultimately, I did like Marriage Vacation, even if I struggled to like the character. It is a fairly fluffy read that is quick and easy to read.

Bottom Line - Pauline Turner Brooks is not a real person.  She is a character on a popular television show (watch it!!) who wrote a book.  Marriage Vacation is *that* book.   If you watch Younger (watch it!!) then you know what I am talking about and if you don't watch it, you really should.

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I remember the carefree summer days when I used to ride my bike to the public library to pick out new books. I would go almost daily to find books to read. I read to learn. I read to explore the world. I read to escape. I read because not reading is not an option.

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