This is the first time I’ve felt compelled to give you a spoiler alert, I guess I read a lot of books that don’t have many key twists. SPOILERS BELOW REGARDING PLOT POINTS in The Awkward Age by Francesca Segal.

I read this book in just over one day.  I was stuck on an Amtrak train significantly longer than I was meant to be stuck on said train, leading me to read the first 300 pages of this novel.  I had almost picked this up and then not picked it up and then finally decided to read it, and I will say it is a very compelling read.  I’m not going to read it again, but I don’t read that many books twice anyway (Station Eleven and The Sixth Extinction being recent exceptions to that rule), so take that as you will.

Basically, this book is about a widow and a divorcé (which I have just learned is the male version of divorcée) who fall in love, but have teenage children, a girl and a boy, who don’t get along nor are they supporters of the new relationship.  I wanted to put all these characters in therapy.  It was in fact maddening to me that the teen daughter does go to one session.  BUT I really wanted to put them in therapy later in the book because SPOILER, the teenagers don’t keep hating each other, instead, they start banging each other. AND SURPRISE, teenagers are terrible at birth control.  Which I think it also pretty accurate to life.  The main take away from this book for me really was, if I have a daughter, I’m really going to encourage her to get an IUD.

The book is also about different styles of parenting, and how you can manage (whether you can manage?) being a parent and a person at the same time. The widow asks the divorcé this, Do you think we’re being punished for being people? For those of us without kids (but plenty of time for reading!) this question is still abstract. But I’m hoping that you get to be both.  The book ends not happily exactly, but hopefully, raising the possibility that you can be a parent and a person, but maybe the timing has to be right.

Currently reading: about 100 pages into Amy Tan’s memoir and planning to read The End We Start From today or tomorrow.