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Between

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3.64  ·  Rating details ·  185 ratings  ·  49 reviews
Vero and her husband Shane have moved out of the sweet suite above his parents' garage and found themselves smack in the middle of adulthood―two kids, two cars, two jobs. They are not coping well. In response to their looming domestic breakdown, Vero and Shane get live-in help with their sons―a woman from the Philippines named Ligaya (which means happiness), whom the boys ...more
Paperback, First Edition, 312 pages
Published October 2014 by Arsenal Pulp Press
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Average rating 3.64  · 
Rating details
 ·  185 ratings  ·  49 reviews


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Laura Frey (Reading in Bed)
Aug 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Whoa... I did not see where this story was going at all. It was very Desperate Housewives at first, and then suddenly got real dark and dirty! The other thing that struck me is how Abdou *makes* the reader judge these characters, while making you see you're not so different. I love that this mom gives zero shits about what other moms are doing, or parenting styles, or anything you read about in the "mommy wars" articles. The real war is against time, and aging, and your partner, and if I want to ...more
Lauren Davis
Apr 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Angie Abdou is a deceptive writer. On the surface, her novel might be thought of a domestic drama, a novel of sexual frustration, marital disappointment, the stresses of childrearing and finding the right nanny, but such a reading would miss the political, cultural, and economic subtexts. Her language is lovely, and she uses wonderful, earthy, enfleshed imagery. She's also very funny!

Here's what the review from the Winnipeg Free Press had to say. I couldn't say it better myself:

"Reviewed by Jul
...more
Alexis
Aug 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
Very, very impressed by this book. Angie Abdou tackles depression, parenthood, motherhood and Filipina nannies in this book. She gives us the perspective of both the North American mother/employer and the Filipina nanny, which makes this book balanced and unique. The plot was unexpected and twisted and turned. I spent two weeks in the Philippines on a study tour to take a bunch of Canadian farmers to meet Filipino farmers. We spent a lot of time talking to Filipinos in their homes and I've been ...more
Andrea Nair
Jun 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mommy-fiction
For mothers of young children in particular, the novel BETWEEN by Angie Abdou is an exhilarating, validating and emotional read. Abdou powerfully dives into the mind and body of an exhausted mother as she grapples with the limitations facing her.

The nanny who is hired to improve the main character’s life brings reprieve, but also the pain of leaving her own family behind. The tale of these two women as they try to navigate the complexities of their situation, and the husband caught in the middl
...more
Steven Buechler
May 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to Arsenal Pulp Press for sending me an advance copy of this book.

The ability of a writer to craft a story showing the ills of a society around themselves is a fantastic gift to have. Angie Abdou is one such writer. She has crafted many a good book illuminating many feelings, issues and concerns in our society, using a great combination of serious prose and humour. Many of her fans have been patiently waiting for her novel Between for some time now and they will not be disappointed.

htt
...more
Ann Douglas
Jun 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
A gutsy and intriguing look at the lives of two women -- a nanny and her employer -- who find themselves grappling with the constraints of their lives.

A compelling, character-rich story.

[ Review based on an Advance Reading Copy supplied by the publisher, Arsenal Pulp Press ]
Heather(Gibby)
Jul 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: canadian-author
What a little gem of a novel. It is multilayered, and shows the struggle of an upper class woman (Vero) trying to do it all, battling with her own inner insecurities, trying to be the best she can be. Her husband convinces her to bring in a full time nanny. There are multiple layers within this story, looking at this situation from both Vero"s and Legaya (the live in nanny)'s point of view.
Niloufar-Lily Soltani
Apr 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
I don’t know Vero , and I don’t understand her frustrations, her confusions, her sexual behaviour, nor her sadness. I may have met Vero though. There is a familiar feeling inside of me while reading her . I may have worked with her or maybe she is one of my neighbors, or she looks like the sad woman beside me on the bus. Whoever she is, I know that I have made a deal with myself that, as long as she is paying me as my employer, no matter how much she tries, she can’t be my close friend. Nothing ...more
Pragya Esh
Apr 18, 2016 rated it it was ok
I usually don't rate books I whipped through in 2 days so poorly, but I was so disappointed with this book.

What is described as an exploration of two characters really ends up as an analysis of one: Vera, the upper-middle-class white woman with liberal guilt over hiring a Philipino nanny. Abdou's characterization of Lingaya is dismally thin, with what we know about "the nanny" serving only to show us the limits of Vera's understanding. In oyher words, she only exists to uncover Vera.

Not only wa
...more
Alison DeLory
Dec 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
I particularly enjoyed the perspective of the Philipino nanny living in a Canadian home. Her story was more compelling to me than that of the protagonist, a Canadian professional woman and mom, who is unhappy in her work and marriage. It is a bleak story but it felt believable; that a woman who seems to have so much is left so dissatisfied by it.
Sassafras Lowrey
Jul 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Captivating voice and a very fast read. I enjoyed the way the story slowly unfolded releasing secrets and heartbreak. I found Vero as a character self indulgent, irresponsible and often annoying which I think, was intentional. I would have welcomed more from LiLi's perspective
Julienne
Watch for my review in The Winnipeg Review online.
Christine
Feb 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cdn-fiction, fiction
Let's start over. This is what Vero's young son says whenever his day goes awry or there's a fight. Starting over is the most prominent theme that runs throughout Between.

Vero and Shane are married with two young sons. When Vero starts falling apart at the seams, overwhelmed by her marriage and motherhood, Shane suggests hiring a nanny to help her cope. Hiring a nanny is supposed to help Vero start over, to have time to focus on her work and on herself, but the entire idea stresses Vero out. She
...more
Sheila Craig
Jun 24, 2017 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Allison
Sep 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
Parts of this book pull you along, but others you have to wade through. I found the main character to be very odd and tiring to read about as she swings from emotion to emotion.
Katherine Pederson
Sep 21, 2017 rated it it was ok
I felt the ending was rushed and the book was not very well written.
Rosemary Rigsby
Oct 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
It seemed slow to develop, but when I finished it, I understood why. Well researched and believable.
Deedee
Feb 02, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Deleted to make room on my over full MP3 player...
John
Sep 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I can’t help thinking that “challenging” is an overused word in the book review shtick, but, Angie Abdou’s Between is a challenging book. It’s not challenging in a stylistic sense, like Joyce or Woolf — Abdou’s writing is laid-back and accessible. And Between is not a monumental modern day À la recherche du temps perdu — it’s a quick three hundred pages covering a year in the lives of an upper-middle class Canadian family and their Filipina nanny. Potentially pretty tame stuff. And while Between ...more
Emma Hatchard
Apr 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
‘Between’ by Angie Abdou

Between is a powerful book. It gradually pulls you in, entangling you with its twin protagonists and parallel themes until you become too intrigued to abandon it.
Slowly, the subject matter becomes hard and uncomfortable, on the edge of alien. The initial thesis is easy enough to accept and well worth developing: What happens in the mind of women obliged by circumstance to look after the children of others while abandoning their own?
But the counter-thesis is not at a
...more
Angela
Jun 22, 2014 added it
First of all: if you're in my reading group, STOP! Don't read this yet--we will talk on Saturday. I'm leading the discussion questions and I don't want to lead with my own opinions.

*************************************

Note for the author:

Okay, now I'll say my opinions. Wow! What a gutsy use of literature, Angie! You went there. I feel like I read this novel in the context of your "framing it" on the book tour. The fact that you use your writing to figure out things that are worrying you or on y
...more
Karen
May 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
When Vero, a white, middle-class housewife is immobilized by motherhood her husband Shane convinces her to hire a live-in nanny from the Philippines and Ligaya moves in. Guilty about the privilege that allows her to have help Vero tries to equalize their relationship although, of course, she really cannot. Vero is just more powerful than Ligaya due to race and class and while Vero can pretend that she sees Ligaya as a peer she is just as smug and entitled as any other woman in her position. I be ...more
Wesley
Jan 02, 2015 rated it liked it
I didn't really get it.

The book starts off great. I was pretty invested in it, particularly because the author did a good job of making me feel for the Filipino nanny and her sacrifice. The first third of the book sort of rests on that: the build up of what it's like to be a nanny looking for opportunities to better her family's life.

The middle third was a sharp turn. The couple visited a swingers' resort (not a spoiler; the fact that they went is not, in itself, consequential) and this is where
...more
Loretta
Sep 01, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this novel. It spoke of important social topics including the labour issues of foreign female employees, feminist politics, motherhood, and sex and drugs. For me it hit home that a lot of women continue to be trapped in the primary role of caregivers once they have children. Their whole life changes, but the man’s life aka the father’s life seems to continue mostly the same as before the children. Women are still expected to “do it all.”

The story takes quite the interesting tur
...more
Jody Spencer
Sep 22, 2014 rated it liked it
Vero is a mom of 2 who works part-time and finally accepts the fact that she needs help managing the kids and household. Lili (or Ligaya) is the nanny they hire to come help by way of Hong Kong.

Much of this book is Vero's struggle to realize her role in life. She dabbles in parenting, working part-time, yoga, friendships, etc. but doesn't seem to know where she's going so flounders.

The relationship turn mid-way through the book took me by surprise and then changed the direction of the storyline
...more
Buried In Print
Following Amazon's purchase of GoodReads, I no longer post my reviews here.

If you would like to read my thoughts on this book, you can view them in the following places:
BuriedInPrint
LeafMarks
BookLikes
LibraryThing

Posting these links does not constitute permission to duplicate these thoughts anywhere, including corporate-owned sites.

If you read/liked/clicked through to see this review here on GR, many thanks.
...more
Debbie Bateman
Sep 18, 2015 rated it liked it
When I began reading this novel, I was immediately annoyed by the protagonist. Her self-absorbed, poor-me attitude was ridiculous considering her over-privileged existence. She was like an annoying person on a bus who won’t leave you alone. I almost considered abandoning the book.

Then I saw the other side of the story: the life of the nanny.

Like all stories that alternate point of view, this novel is about the space between two lives. That space is what held my interest and kept me reading. Per
...more
Sarah
Oct 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
In the beginning of the book I was impressed by the sensitive-but-bracing portrayal of the struggles of early working motherhood (for mid-to-upperclass married white cis women), and then as the novel progressed I was even more impressed by its slow, subtle segue into revealing the stark privilege threaded throughout that experience. Upon reflection, even more impressive was the author’s ability to maintain compassion for all of her characters even while revealing their weaknesses and limitations ...more
Naomi Zener
Aug 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
Struggling with the notion of finding work-life balance, finally coming to the realization that hiring childcare--a live-in nanny--to help raise your kids while maintaining the employer-employee construct set up within the confines of living together as a family that is crumbling under one roof is explored in Between. The book courses down a path, one unexpected, laying bare the delicate nature of this relationship, one that is constantly teetering on the high wire without a net, while exploring ...more
Dale
Jun 22, 2015 rated it it was ok
I was able to identify with the characters at the beginning as I had two Filipino for my children in the 1980's and now my children have nannies for my grand children. It was interesting to see the perspective of the nanny role - I feel somewhat more understanding of why there is not a need to be 'the friend' to the nanny. With my first nanny, I wanted to be that "friend" too.

But when we got to Jamaica I was so disgusted with the endless sexual escapades that I was not able to rate this book as
...more
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Angie Abdou was born and raised in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. She received an Honours B.A. in English from the University of Regina, an M.A. from the University of Western Ontario, and a Ph.D. from the University of Calgary. She is an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Athabasca University. She makes her home in the Canadian Rockies along the BC/Alberta border with her husband and two childr ...more

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“That’s Cervella.” Vero’s hand picks at something in her hair, as she glares down at a disassembled bike. “This one’s his favourite. Do you bike?” Ligaya nods as she remembers the fat-tire red bike. Pedro’s. He let her borrow it to visit family in the next village. She touches her thighs as she remembers the feeling of freedom, covering such distance by the strength of her own legs, not minding at all when she had to ride home in the pouring rain, her sweat and the rainwater indistinguishable on her cheeks. Again, she feels the uncomfortable vertigo of her body being in one place and her mind in another, the two so far apart. But Vero does not wait for an answer. She pulls Ligaya—not roughly—her fingertips soft on the exposed skin of Ligaya’s wrist. But Ligaya is unaccustomed to touch. Nobody touched her at the Poons. She breathes deeply and counts the bikes. She must not flinch, wills herself not to pull away; she cannot afford to give offense. Vero twirls her around and points at a poster above the workbench. “That! Read it!” But Ligaya does not have to read it. Vero reads it for her. Since the bike makes little demand on material or energy resources, contributes little to pollution, makes a positive contribution to health and causes little death, or injury, it can be regarded as the most benevolent of machines. —Stuart S. Wilson She pauses as if she might expect a response this time. She gestures at the room stuffed with bikes until it seems the very walls and ceiling are made of bikes, the scent of rubber tires replacing oxygen. “Ridiculous, right? The bike will save the world, he says. Yes, but you just need one, I say. One bike. That I can see. That I can even admire. I’m sure Stuart buddy here couldn’t even imagine this … this … biketrocity. And that he should be to blame?!” 1 likes
“With the new, unedited Saudi Arabian National Guard manuals stuffed in her briefcase and a piece of licorice dangling from her mouth, she follows Edward through the plant. He wants to show her the anti-tanks. “Can’t write about ’em, if you’ve never seen ’em.” But Vero doesn’t want to see them. She wants to believe in her own etymology: anti-tank = the opposite of tank Whatever the opposite of tank might be—she doesn’t care—a bouncy castle, a skateboard, a bar on wheels. Her capacity for denial is astonishing, matched only by her capacity for rationalization. She knows this. Again, she doesn’t care.” 1 likes
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