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The Ten-Year Nap

2.89 of 5 stars 2.89  ·  rating details  ·  5,516 ratings  ·  1,265 reviews
From the bestselling author of The Wife and The Position, a feverishly smart novel about female ambition, money, class, motherhood, and marriage-and what happens in one community when a group of educated women chooses not to work.

For a group of four New York friends, the past decade has been largely defined by marriage and motherhood. Educated and reared to believe that...more
Hardcover, 351 pages
Published March 27th 2008 by Riverhead Hardcover (first published 2008)
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Community Reviews

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Susan
I almost didn't agree to reviewing The Ten Year Nap by Meg Wolitzer because I was wary of the subject matter: stay at home mothers. I tend to get all prickly and weird around this topic because it is SO loaded and I realize that even though I have often BEEN at home during my children's lives, I do not want to be considered or think of myself as a SAHM. I've always worked part time or at home. I used to say, "I'm a stay at home mom, but my kids are not stay at home kids." (they went to daycare/p...more
Erika
I wanted so much to give this book five stars. It was soooooo good for the first 300 pages, talking about the nuances of motherhood, feminism and women's worlds in the US as lived through four women who gather every week at a diner in New York City to talk about (in)fidelity, love, work, children, and -- for the token smart Asian woman -- numbers.
The writing is fluid, smart, funny and right-on; the story better (These highly educated women have left careers to mother their kids and hate being as...more
Angie
I wish I could say I didn't like this book just because I built it up in my head too much while waiting for the other 20 library holds before me, but I'm sure this isn't the only reason. The moms in this book are a world apart from the moms I associate with, and maybe I'd like this book more in another ten years. The book didn't seem to capture the stress and chaos that mothers experience, but maybe that's because the main character has one 10 year old child. With 3 children who are not yet old...more
Rebecca
This book is a perfect example of relativity. Looked at from a certain perspective, apparently, it is funny and sympathetic and a right on evaluation of modern motherhood. Looked at from another, there isn't a true note in it and all that humor and seeming sympathy are moot because its careless plot and unhelpable characters seem to lose the author's interest. And no wonder! There's really nothing interesting in their lives except for their own silent pondering and fretting over their priveleged...more
Debby
This isn't a book I would normally be drawn to read, but the title intrigued me. I decided to read it more for curiosity sake, knowing full well what I was getting into, as far as the feminist agenda goes.
.
The Ten Year Nap is about 4 friends who were raised hearing the feminism message, "As a woman, you can be anything you want. You can do anything you want. You can have it all and you deserve it!" So they each pursued the college, marriage and career route until, around the age of 30, they be...more
Sonya
I'm not much for recounting plot in a mini-review. You can read the backmatter and blurbs if you want to know what happens in this novel. Had I been able, I would have given this book 3.5 stars, but can't bump it all the way up to four. The novel is successful in linking the concepts of women in pre- and post-9/11 life and the work they do or do not do, but does not construct a complete world where these characters are supposedly living. The tone is almost too polemic, and there are some plot co...more
Jeff
I absolutely adore Meg Wolitzer! She is, perhaps, one of the most amazingly astute, proufoundly incisive, and brilliantly comic authors writing today. I still think "The Wife" is her most realized book to date, but "The Ten-Year Nap" is her most ambitious and, in many ways, the best novel she has written. Not only are the characters in this book thoroughly fleshed-out and spectacular in depth and coloration, but the writing is also so rich and so nuanced that I found myself savoring what the aut...more
Mara
Chapters in this novel alternate between the modern-day lives of a group of women in New York City, all of whom have left careers behind to raise their children, and stories of their mothers or other women from an earlier generation, all of whom are feminists in their own way.

Wolitzer is telling us two things, I think. First, by contrasting the lives of mothers in the 1960s and '70s with those of their daughters in the late '90s and early 21st century, Wolitzer asks questions about what happened...more
Nicole
Apr 21, 2008 Nicole rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: women
The Ten Year Nap is an easy, enjoyable read. I am not a fan of 'mommy lit', but this is smart and real. An ensemble of characters share the stage with the main character, Amy. We hear all of their stories, plus a few historical figures give light to their own life and times.

This novel examines what kinds of choices women make as mothers and wives, in an honest, however general way. The book doesn't go deep, but wide, and with that choice we get a glimpse at several lives but never really uncover...more
Sarah Cler
Jul 27, 2008 Sarah Cler rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: moms, particularly stay at home moms
If I could, I would give this three and a half stars. Very mixed feelings about this one. First of all, this is the first Meg Wolitzer book I've read and I think she's a brilliantly talented writer. Her sentences are like works of art, and she captures characters and life moments with such precision it's almost painful.

The book chronicles four upper middle class Manhattan women friends in their late 30s/early 40s, all of whom have given up their careers (some high-powered, some not) to stay hom...more
Ruby
I was interested in this book because though I haven't accepted SAHM as an identity, it happens to be what I am doing. On Facebook I told a friend, "It's a cautionary tale."

The story was placed badly in my reading life. It came after Eat Pray Love, which I found to be enlightening and uplifting. This book brought me back down, and hard.

Probably my greatest critique of the story (besides its juxtaposition in my life) was that the central character, Amy (who I found kind of annoying) repeatedly wo...more
Mehrsa
I really enjoyed this book. (I think I would give it 4 and a half stars.) In fact, I didn't want it to end. It felt like I was having a nice conversation with friends in the same position that I am--or I guess that I will be in about 10 years. The book is about four women in NYC that have given up careers to raise children and now their children are grown. The women are pretty realistic (except, one of the characters who seems a bit two-dimensional) and they are interesting. The book may have ju...more
Lisa
Very interesting. Stay-home moms of 10-year olds (they were professionals then dropped off at birth of 1st child). Everyone has struggles; interesting changes of perspective from present to women of generations past. But:...spoiler alert, if you have not read it, stop now if you think you'll read it.



Are you kidding me? Everyone takes 10 years off the career path and then most go back to jobs, albeit different jobs, with hardly no problems? Out of all those women, no husbands turn them in for tro...more
Marie
Dec 07, 2008 Marie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: women who work outside of the home, and those who are primary caregivers
Shelves: women, fiction
When I first started on goodreads, I gave lots of my books 5 stars, but I'm a bit of a harder grader now. The word "amazing" is what did it to me. How many books have I read that are truly "amazing"? Not many.

I really, really enjoyed The Ten-Year Nap. It was a great classic novel, full of lots of background and character development--not only of the four main women in the story, but also of their parents! I liked the way Wolitzer explored the internal battles and decision-making processes women...more
Deirdre Keating
I didn't like it, but I couldn't give it one star. It wasn't painful to read. And I realize it's not really fair to judge a book for not being the book you wanted it to be.

Ironically, I put down The Emperor's Children last month because I was so tired of NYC characters. Little did I know this one would be even more of that world.

I enjoyed Jill's story, her struggle of making her way in a new community, and judging herself so harshly as she bonds with her daughter. Most of the others seemed like...more
Jennifer
I loved the idea of this book. I, like so many women, wrestle with the possibility of balance between career and family life, and Wolitzer seeks to show this struggle in all its complexity. But in the end, I don't think she really nails it. Somehow, the idea that not working outside of the home is a "nap" derails the potential of the story. The labor of child care is missing, as is the angst working women feel when they "miss things" in their children's lives.

I wish there were fewer characters...more
Nette
Most of the reviews so far seem to focus on the book's "issue", mothers who give up their jobs to stay at home with the kids. To me, this is simply a very well-written, almost old-fashioned novel, with excellent characterization and perfect dialog.

Unlike the once-good Jodi Picoult (who would have had one of the stay-at-home moms kill her husband and then, in a shocking twist, reveal that her husband had embezzled millions in home mortgage scams, including one that ruined her own struggling, blu...more
Betsy
I was recently thinking that I was sort of tired of books about middle aged male angst. I don't care for Richard Ford's writing for this reason. Turns out I feel the same way about middle aged female angst too. Almost gave up on listening to this a couple of times (which would have then gotten it 1 star), but the story was just compelling enough to keep me listening. It was basically a bunch of whiny women bemoaning their lives while existing in a bubble of white privilege.
Erin Malone
I really enjoy this author's work, and the writing here is interesting enough-- a good exploration of the emotional difficulties encountered by women who've chosen to stay home with their children instead of returning to work--but often I thought these characters were simply mouthpieces for complaint. They didn't feel quite real; they never got anywhere; the plot was static. On the other hand, maybe that's the point the author is trying to make about motherhood-- how postmodern!
Emma Zone
I really connected with the beginning of this book; it had potential. Being a new Stay-at-home-mom has its challenges, and I identified with a lot of what the main character, Amy, had to say. As the book continued, however, I was disappointed by the lack of character development. It was almost as if Wolitzer had too many ideas, and she didn't do enough with many of them. I was looking for more connections. It was a good read, but not all I thought it would be.
Patti Henger
This book is about women feeling feelings. I rather liked it and am glad I started before checking the average Goodreads ratings. This is not a plot heavy book by any means but follows many women and their paths through daily life. To many this may seem tedious and mundane, but the reality is that is much of our existence on this planet.

Wolitzer is awesome at writing and this definitely felt smarter than a lot of "chick lit" I've read on variations of the motherhood/work balance. I can say I'm...more
Shannon
Not sure if I loved because it was a fine piece of literature of because I can relate to it, but I highly recommend this book to any moms out there. It was well-written, accurate story of women in NYC and how motherhood affected their lives. Sounds like beach-read chic-lit, but has much more depth than that. Entertaining and thought provoking, you will enjoy this book, especially if you are in the 35-55 age range.
Jeremy
My adventures in Wolitzer's momcore for the 1% may be drawing to a close. The basic idea in the book is that it's hard for moms to decide whether to go back to work or stay at home. And, like, whether your family is extra-rich or just regular-rich affects your decision.

It's also hard to be a middle-class lady who used to make paintings and hates the free Upper East Side apartment her parents bought her. Her problems are a little different. Something about her husband's passion for children's pu...more
Jennifer D
i really wanted to like this book...so i am bummed it wasn't a better read for me. this was my first wolitzer, and i thought it would be cool to begin here, before jumping into The Interestings, since i have owned the ten-year nap for so long.

i am not really sure yet why this read didn't work for me. i have a few loosely formed thoughts lolling about in my brain, so i adjust going to put them out here:

* i found the style clunky and the flow was off - wolitzer can write - there's no doubt about i...more
B
This is not a bad book, but it simply doesn't deliver what it promises. I didn't feel any understanding or connection to any of these mothers, the ones who, 10 years ago, decided to stop working to take care of their children. I was expecting some kind of insight into their lives, their decisions and the consequences but I could not understand any of their reasons for not having gone back to work when their children have been at school for around 5 years. This is even made worse by the fact that...more
Drew
Wolitzer provides a profoundly insightful and authentic view upon the mental and emotional journey of mothers who decide to stay at home to raise their children full-time. I have often been struck by the absurdity of our modern pattern of life that separates wives and husbands from one another and fathers from their children for the vast majority of each day. Cultivating relationships of love, adoration, and devotion require effort and time and modern schedules are structured so as to make those...more
Liz
I hated every single character in this book. There was not a single individual that I didn't want to grab by the shoulders and shake while yelling "STOP COMPLAINING!"

I'm glad I read this book as I think it will serve as interesting discussion fodder for book club; a book about the horribly unhappy lives of women grappling with the decisions that lead them to becoming stay at home moms is an interesting topic for a book club filled with professional woman in their 20s thinking about having/just...more
Robyn
This book is touted as a true-to-life account of what it is like to be a housewife now, in an era in which most women work. I think this description may be accurate in describing well-to-do, Ivy League-educated women who live in New York City. I have nothing against well-to-do, Ivy League-educated women who live in New York City. I would often rather be a well-to-do, Ivy League-educated woman living in New York City with the luxury not to work than a state-educated woman living in Tallahassee, F...more
Tiny Pants
I'm both surprised and not surprised the average rating on this book is so low (two-point-something). I'm surprised because I, for one, really liked it. But I'm not surprised because it's entirely likely that there was some attempt made to market this title -- given its focus on women, marriage, and parenting -- as chick lit along the lines of I Don't Know How She Does It or Shopaholic Has a Baby or whatever. I haven't read either of those (though I have had some unfortunate run-ins with the Sho...more
Karen
This is one of the bleakest books I've ever read. It is well-written and fairly interesting, but, even for someone as cynical as I am, I found it hard to believe that a life could be so pointless and unrewarding. This is a tale about giving up a career for motherhood. It is set in NYC and has much drama around real estate, private school admissions, and envy of successful and creative women - in other words, it is right up my alley. Somehow it just didn't do it for me though. I think the main pr...more
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Should be interesting 2 78 Jul 18, 2008 07:18AM  
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Meg Wolitzer is the author of The Ten-Year Nap and seven previous novels, including The Position and The Wife . Her short fiction has appeared in The Best American Short Stories and The Pushcart Prize.

Author photo copyright Deborah Copaken.
More about Meg Wolitzer...
The Interestings The Uncoupling The Wife The Position Belzhar

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“You stayed around your children as long as you could, inhaling the ambient gold shavings of their childhood, and at the last minute you tried to see them off into life and hoped that the little piece of time you’d given them was enough to prevent them from one day feeling lonely and afraid and hopeless. You wouldn’t know the outcome for a long time.” 38 likes
“To be anorexic...she thought, amounted to wanting to shed yourself of some of the imperfect mosaic of pieces that made you who you were. She could understand that now for, maybe underneath that desquamated self you would locate a new version.” 7 likes
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