Book review: Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakthrough by Ruth Pennebaker (9780425238561)

“Hell was three generations of women living under the same roof.”

Joanie “Roxanne” Pilcher is a divorcee who has found out that her ex is going to be a daddy with the young woman he is living with and her new boss, Zoe, thinks she is a charity case.  From Joanie:  “What was worst of all to Joanie was that Zoe hadn’t seen anything special in her.  She had instead glommed on to Joanie as some kind of sad cliché.  A shopworn, middle-aged housewife whose husband had dumped her.  A feminist cause to be championed.  A little social experiment in doing good.”

Ivy Horton is a widow and a kleptomaniac who is forced to live with her daughter and granddaughter when she lost money during the recession.  From Ivy: “Depression.  Maybe it wasn’t a mental illness anymore.  It was what they now called old age.”

Caroline Pilcher is a teen who is misunderstood and angry at her parents for the mess they made of her life.  She also has a crush on a boy at school that doesn’t even know she exists…or does he?  From  Caroline:  “Yes, that was it.  B.J. saw right through [Caroline], knew she didn’t have any friends, had never been kissed, was a hopeless, flat-chested virgin who spent her whole life thinking, obsessing, dreaming about a good-looking guy who’d barely even noticed her, couldn’t have picked her out in a lineup of felons.”

All three women are lonely and trying to figure out how to cope with their lives and, unfortunately, don’t know how to communicate with each other.

This book is funny and sad and it was a quick read.  However, I was disappointed in the ending.  Maybe it was me, but I felt that it just stopped.  I wanted to know how they all  turned out after they discovered themselves and confronted those people that didn’t understand them.

Thank you to Ruth Pennebaker and PR by the Book for giving me the opportunity to review this book.

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