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Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakthrough
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Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakthrough

2.90  ·  Rating Details  ·  279 Ratings  ·  78 Reviews
Joanie's ex-husband is having a baby with his new girlfriend. Joanie won't be having more babies, since she's decided never to have sex again.
But she still has her teenaged daughter Caroline to care for. And thanks to the recession, her elderly mother Ivy as well. Her daughter can't seem to exist without texting, and her mother brags about "goggling,"-while Joanie, back
ebook, 320 pages
Published January 1st 2011 by Berkley Books (first published November 23rd 2010)
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Jan 19, 2011 Mtnbookworm rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found myself uncannily motivated by Pennebaker’s title alone. Frankly, it describes me and many others in my circle of family and friends to a T. I suspect if you're dealing with either raising kids or handling eldercare drama (or both) ... the title probably describes your life too.

Based on her other writing, I knew I could count on Pennebaker for a respite from and a laugh about real life. I’ve had a hard time reading lately because I’m so distracted, so if a book can hold MY attention, that
Jennifer Jensen (Literally Jen)
I wish I could go back in time a few weeks and ask myself what appealed to me about this book, because once I started reading it there wasn't really much in it that I enjoyed. What was I thinking?

This novel centers around three women, each with their own set of problems. The reader gets an up close and personal play by play of everything each of them thinks about things from sex to illegal aliens. None of these women came across as sympathetic to me, especially since their problems are so trivia
Jan 01, 2016 Heather rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I am struggling to put my thoughts on this book into words. Overall, it was just OK. The three main characters, Joanie, Ivy, and Caroline, seem like they’re the exact same person – just at different stages in life. They’re all extremely dissatisfied, extremely lonely, and extremely desperate. They all find some way to work through those feelings, Joanie being the only one who seems to go about that in a somewhat healthy manner.

I felt like this book was way too negative, and like it dragged on. I
Mar 16, 2011 Louise rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: women-s-fiction
Joanie and Richard are divorced and Joanie has taken a life-long vow to celibacy! Richard is living with, BJ, a girl half is age who is now pregnant and they are getting married. Joanie, almost fifty-years-old is in a divorcee support group and only talks to her best friend Mary Margaret outside the group.

Fifteen-year-old daughter, Caroline, is a secretive, manipulative, unhappy teenager whose best friend, Sondra, just introduced her to marijuana.

Ivy, Joanie’s mother, lives with her and Carolin
Mar 23, 2011 Heather rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Joanie Pilcher is about to turn fifty and has recently been left by her husband. If that’s not enough to make her feel overwhelmed, her eighty year old mother is also living with her and her sullen teenage daughter. When Joanie gets a call from her ex-husband letting her know he’s gotten his new twenty-nine year old girlfriend pregnant, Joanie begins to fall off the precipice of good mental health. Trapped in an ad-exec job she hates and a divorce support group that can sometimes be judgemental, ...more
Feb 05, 2011 Marie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

I picked up this book at the library (on the "new" shelf) and decided to read it, mostly based on the recommendation of Sarah Bird, a talented Texas writer. Ruth Pennebaker is another writer from Texas. According to the book jacket she is a commentator for an NPR facilitator and keeps a blog (which looks much better than her novel!).

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakthrough is about a trio of generations living under the same roof. Joanie is mom to Car
Jan 20, 2011 Liz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was looking for a light, after the holidays type book and came across this one. It's premise is three women (a 15 year old daughter, 50 year old mom, and a grandmother) living under one roof. The mom went through a divorce and her ex husband is getting married to a young girl who happens to be pregnant. The grandmother had to give up her house due to the economy and crash of the stock market. The young daughter is having a hard time socially in high school. Lots of realistic challenges going o ...more
Alisa Bowman
Jan 30, 2011 Alisa Bowman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I finished this book last night. The author artfully tells a tale from three perspectives and generations. Each perspective is realistic, and even though all of the women in the book are deeply flawed and neurotic, they are also wonderfully likable. An irreverent sense of humor runs through the book. Some of the lines are classic and memorable and I found myself wanting to read with a highlighter. One scene toward the end of the book made me laugh so hard the dog jumped off the bed. This is a gr ...more
Sep 12, 2014 Kay rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Painful, funny as all get out, honest, well written--so much about this book to love. Likely each of us who reads it identifies with the woman closest in age and experience, and yet the hurt under the striking out done by all of them, the 15-year-old teenager, the suddenly-aged-50 single mom, and the almost-80 matriarch who is forced by economics to come live with them, is so real that we all know what it must be (or is!) like to be there, feel that. They are all three scorned, but the cute guy ...more
Sep 07, 2010 eb rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A boring tale about a mother, a daughter, and a grandmother. There's some good, insightful stuff about teenagers, but the plot is perfectly predictable, and the prose is bad.
PK Reeves
3 generations of women all under one roof... that spells TROUBLE. See Aisle B review
Trupti Dorge
Sep 08, 2011 Trupti Dorge rated it really liked it
Shelves: i-own
3.5 out of 5

When 3 generation of women who cannot stand each other have to live under the same roof, you can definitely expect some entertainment. That’s exactly what we get in Women on the verge of a nervous breakthrough. For a minute I thought this would be a self help book, but not really. It’s a story about 3 completely different women and how they go through their almost nervous breakdowns and subsequent breakthrough’s.

Joanie is in her late 40’s and has just gone through a divorce with her
Jun 22, 2011 Sharon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
“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 cha
Feb 07, 2011 Pam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

It’s a drag getting old, everyone knows that. Ivy didn’t think that her faith in God or devotion to her family would ever let age have her against the ropes. Yet, here she is, watching her fifty year old daughter let a nice marriage die and a her teenaged granddaughter join gangs or cults or whatever it is that young people have found to get into, now a days. She wishes for a simpler time as she continually shakes her head and sighs.

Joanie didn’t exactly l
Marquetta (LoveToReadForFun)
Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakthrough is a story about three generation of women living under the same roof trying to cope with each other and with life. Joanie, Ivy and Caroline are each going through changes in their life that they are finding difficult to handle. Joanie is a soon to be 50 divorcee. Her husband is living with a woman half his age and just announced that they are having a baby. Ivy is a widow whose savings has quickly dwindled thanks to the bad economy. She can no longer ...more
Mar 16, 2011 Laurel-Rain rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Three female members of a family at different stages of their lives are trying to coexist.

Sandwiched between her seventy-six-year-old mother, Ivy, and her fifteen-year-old daughter, Caroline, Joanie Pilcher (approaching fifty) feels overwhelmed at times, emotionally bankrupt, and definitely misunderstood. She is so "done" with men that she has vowed never to have sex again. Caroline is at a point of fearing that she will never find anyone to love her, much less to have sex with her. And Ivy is f
Wisteria Leigh
Mar 13, 2011 Wisteria Leigh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
WOMEN ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKTHROUGH[return]by Ruth Pennabaker[return]Berkley Trade[return]January 4, 2011[return]978-0425238561[return]320 pp, $15.00[return][return]Synopsis from Berkley Books[return][return]Description[return] Joanie's ex-husband is having a baby with his new girlfriend. Joanie won't be having more babies, since she's decided never to have sex again. [return][return]But she still has her teenaged daughter Caroline to care for. And thanks to the recession, her elderly m ...more
Mary Pessaran
I avoided it as long as it was humanly possible for a reader/writer to avoid. Yes, that's right. Three days before it closed forever, I went and feasted on the dead body that was Borders. I bought this book. I am sad to tell the author that I bought it for 80% off, but I am glad to tell the author that it is worth more. Well, maybe not the full cover price, because if people were willing to pay full cover price, then Borders would not be wormsmeat today. But if I knew about the book, and the aut ...more
Jun 09, 2011 Helen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakthrough by Ruth Pennebaker takes a unique perspective on a family of three generations living together. Joanie, the woman in the middle generation and the bread-winner, is dealing with her ex-husband who’s having a baby with his girlfriend, her mother who’s moved in with her for financial reasons, her daughter who’s experiencing her horrible teen years, and a co-worker who’s putting the moves on her.

The tale is often funny, sometimes rather heart-breaking, an
Rebecca Gernon
Aug 03, 2015 Rebecca Gernon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book about three women , a grandmother forced to live with her divorced daughter, the daughter, and her teenage granddaughter. The characters are unique, well developed, dialogue witty, sharp, and genuine. The new girlfriend of the ex husband tests everyone with different results. I saw myself in the characters and smiled at their frustrations.
Apr 22, 2011 Crystal rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
I will admit straight off that this title kind of had me at hello. Don’t you love it? Add to that this adorable cover, which makes a whole lot of sense once you’ve read the book, and it’s all kinds of fun.

Aside from that, this was a very entertaining look at the generally ordinary lives of these women living in Texas. It’s the kind of scenario I’d never really thought about – being a middle aged woman with both your mother and teenage daughter living with you. I don’t have any children of my own
Sarah K
Honestly, it's the vulgar language that stops this book up. If she spent more time tying up loose ends instead of throwing in another cursory word, this book would earn 4 stars from me. OK coming-of-age type of story for 3 generations of women.
Melissa Lee-Tammeus
When I first started this book, I was pretty sure I wasn't going to like it. Another older woman left by her husband for someone younger. Sigh. But, then I realized this was about the sandwich generation - she is living with her mother and her teenage daughter. And they are not getting along. It grew on me. The reader gets the perspective of each woman depending on the situation and I think it truly says a lot about how we only see things through one lens and maybe we shouldn't. A great book abo ...more
I hate to say I wasn't as happy with this book as I thought I would be. At first, I hated it. I wondered why I was still reading it if I wasn’t obliged to. But as I continued to read it, I enjoyed it a little more. Still, the ending was too, as my friend Gino would say, 'floppy' and didn't particularly feel like an ending. I know Pennebaker was getting at a message—having all four girls together—but all the same, I couldn't help but feel like it wasn't a proper ending. As a matter of fact, the s ...more
Elaine Dreyer
Jan 20, 2016 Elaine Dreyer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Funny, poignant, realistic description of three generations living together and the issues each are experiencing. Enjoyable read.
Chris Dorr
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Michelle Thompson
I had to return this book to the library before I could finish reading it. I got 3/4 the way done and I couldn't really connect with the story.
May 12, 2011 Amy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: My mom
Was a quick and easy read. Liked the switching between characters. It helped to show the different perspectives these 3 women had. One was able to hear from a teen, a "middle-aged" woman, and a senior citizen.

They each had their own issues to deal with and I didn't feel like they were "resolved" at the end, but each character was on her way to deal with them. I really liked Joanie, the middle-aged mom - in my opinion, she ended up being the strongest character in the book. Kudos to her.

(Might c
Alexandra Grabbe
Jun 02, 2012 Alexandra Grabbe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When Ruth Pennebaker places three generations of women under one roof, sparks fly. This novel is about learning to appreciate family members, a subject many of us can relate to. Reading Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakthrough is like drinking fine champagne: the bubbles tickle as you drain your glass. The dialogue sparkles. The characters feel real. I loved the author's dry wit and especially appreciated the description of the relationship between Joanie and her elderly mom Ivy, since I too ...more
Aug 25, 2011 Jessica rated it liked it
A sad but realistic view of life.
1. Woman whose husband left her. She is working, has a daughter and her mom has come to live with her.

2. Daughter- Dad is getting married because his current girl friend of 3 month is pregnant. Each partner told her a secret which she didn't want to know. She is experimenting with cigs and pot.

3. Widowed older mom- finally came to the realization daughter are the ones who take care of you, even when you've always favored your son. Not financially able to cope. De
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