Chalking It Up
She's thirty-two years old, has been married for ten years, has three daughters, and has an itch she cannot scratch. Heather Hall embodies every woman who has felt out of place --- at work, in her neighborhood, in her own skin. In this debut novel, Stephanie Bavaro captures the essence of Everywoman with insight, empathy and humor.
Commerce World is a good place to work because you can enjoy the perquisites of corporate excess, like holding business meetings in the on-site Bistro. Even after a change in management leads to a reduction in the force, Heather and her best friend Regan notice no visible increase in their workload, which allows them to take three-hour lunches and even accompany their children on field trips while on the clock. But like all good things, it comes to an end and Heather eventually is laid off. She quickly recovers from the shock as she begins to enjoy her role as Mom, no longer having to hide her personal phone calls and shopping trips on company time.
Of course, along with freedom comes poverty, and Heather is forced to supplement her husband's income with a variety of dead end jobs for ungrateful employers who begin to make her old nemesis, Sayeed Penjab, look good. Gradually, through all the craziness, Heather begins to realize that she's a talented writer, that she wants to work at home, and that her husband and children are her first priority. No longer conflicted about her identity, she makes a decision to follow through on her plan and begins writing her first book. Life imitates art imitates life imitates art.
No matter what your age you will find yourself identifying with some aspect of Heather's life. This frenetic coming-of-age book for the late bloomer will make you smile and nod, and maybe even encourage you to scratch an itch or two of your own.
Reviewed by Maggie Harding on December 26, 2010