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The Ten-Year Nap

3.04  ·  Rating details ·  9,776 ratings  ·  1,722 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
Hardcover, 351 pages
Published March 27th 2008 by Riverhead Hardcover
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Average rating 3.04  · 
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 ·  9,776 ratings  ·  1,722 reviews

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Mar 31, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 24, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
May 08, 2008 rated it it was ok
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
Jun 28, 2008 rated it it was ok
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
Apr 14, 2011 rated it did not like it
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
Britta Böhler
Nobody can handle a big cast of characters better than Meg Wolitzer.
May 16, 2009 rated it did not like it
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
May 26, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 21, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Nov 23, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The "ten-year nap" of Meg Wolitzer's title is the ten years that each of her female protagonists spends as an at-home mother. And before I review this book, I just want to say this: NAP??? Really, Meg Wolitzer? What an unbelievable insult to every woman (and man) who has worked her tail off caring for infants, toddlers, pre-, middle- and high school-aged children.

The reviewer at Salon suggests that Wolitzer's "one agenda" is to "tell the truth about the lives" of at-home mothers. If this is a tr
Nicole Johns
Apr 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Anastasia Pereira
Jan 08, 2016 rated it it was ok
Meh. I though the subject matter had some potential but all of these characters were unlikable. “Wah-wah-wah, my life is so boring, should I have been a stay-at-home-mom?”
I found myself dreading and not caring to read this book, because getting to know these characters lead to nowhere. The plot does not grab, and there are some haphazard short-story-like chapters thrown in that didn’t add very much. Redeeming moments are few and far between. I can’t believe I actually read the whole thing. It to
Jul 21, 2019 rated it did not like it
DNF. I really enjoyed The Wife but found this plot to drag. Found myself tuning out and not at all engaging with the story.
Apr 06, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, on-audio, 2013
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. ...more
Sarah Cler
May 29, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Deirdre Keating
Apr 16, 2008 rated it it was ok
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
May 28, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
May 24, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Jun 24, 2008 rated it liked it
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
May 09, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: women who work outside of the home, and those who are primary caregivers
Shelves: fiction, women
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
Mary Carlomagno
Aug 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Oh the Mommy life! What is it that they do all day? Meg Wolitzer has something to say about that and it is significant, sardonic and honest. I am always delighted by her writing and her witty insights. This glimpse inside the motivations of a group a very different mom friends was so familiar and real to me, that I felt like I knew each and everyone of them. Could it be that a nap from "work" is a nap at all or is it, as she so eloquently puts, one day you wake up and there is somewhere you need ...more
Nov 07, 2018 rated it liked it
I generally concur with the other reviews—this is not my favorite by Wolitzer. The race issues are weird, and I had a lot of trouble caring about the problems I’d rich stay at home moms.
Apr 15, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: owned, 2014-books
i really wanted to like this 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
Jul 29, 2009 rated it liked it
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
May 26, 2008 rated it liked it
February 2016: So, I read some of this 8 years ago, and didn't like it. Now my book group is reading it so I gave it another shot (and had added incentive to finish it this time). I liked it better this time around - and I'm at a very different place in my life (then, I had a 3-year-old who was just about to enter pre-school, and I was at home and contemplating a career change; now she's almost 11 and I work full-time).

I still have issues with this - these women are all overly privileged and I
TaraShea Nesbit
Jun 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I read this quickly and with infatuation with the sentences, the pacing, and overall construction. Things are being Said, with that big S, but also being said with the quiet little s, too. Parenthood is described with a particular fullness, and marriage is explored with range. The movement in time and lineages creates layers of culpability--ultimately there is not one thing allowed to be blamed for unhappiness. And, this book is funny!

Samples: "And then she had stopped herself from such circula
Nov 27, 2018 rated it it was ok
I don't really know if I would have enjoyed this book at all if I weren't a mother. I was interested in the central premise of the book, the struggles of (privileged) stay-at-home-mums, but Wolitzer's narrative didn't work for me. A lot of the writing felt like Wolitzer's personal views on the topic, and didn't really seem like an organic part of the characters' thoughts. I didn't find the book to be particularly cohesive either; it may have worked better if each character had their own short st ...more
Apr 26, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Finally, a thoughtful book written about motherhood, the school years, that embraces the complexity and diversity of our experience. The characters are nuanced, troubled, and working to resolve the question: what is the right thing for me to do? For every person there is a different answer, obviously.

The story jumps around between characters, bringing in various points of view and ultimately examining the way that similar circumstances can be satisfying for one person and inadequate for another
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Meg Wolitzer is the New York Times–bestselling author of The Interestings, The Uncoupling, The Ten-Year Nap, The Position, The Wife, and Sleepwalking. She is also the author of the young adult novel Belzhar. Wolitzer lives in New York City.

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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.” 53 likes
“Even if you yourself were unhappy and anxious, whenever you glimpsed happiness in your child, you suddenly became happy too.” 9 likes
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