From debut novelist Krantz comes an adult coming-of-age story about a woman trying to become the person she wants to be.
The only creative outlet that 38-year-old Lenni Serrano has is her journal, in which she writes that she feels “trapped.” Once a passionate philosophy student and clay sculptor, she’s now bored with her routine life in Philadelphia as a hospital administrator; she’s also a wife to Aaron, whom she met in high school, and they have two children, now teenagers. A chance meeting with a highly intelligent biochemist named Carl in a finance class leads to Lenni getting a new job, where she also meets Carl’s kind co-worker Richard. She then asks herself, “Was it her marriage that was stale—or was it her life?” Krantz thankfully keeps the resulting love triangle—or square—away from soap opera territory by painting the different men as catalysts for Lenni’s self-actualization. The scenes with Lenni’s children offer moments of humor, although her daughter Emily too often acts like a stereotypical angry teen. The story often skips forward in time, which has the effect of keeping the plot from becoming too melodramatic. Readers may guess the late plot twist, but Krantz’s focus on her characters’ emotions gives the story an authentic feel, and the ending is surprising and satisfying. Although the author’s use of journal entries to showcase her character’s inner nature sometimes feels contrived, Lenni’s charm still comes through: “You’re not living up to your own expectations. Ha! My alter ego speaking. Well, Ms. Alter-ego, life can get pretty dull if you always follow the rules.” Lenni’s love of both passion and comfort is relatable, as is the idea that shelving one’s dreams can come back to haunt you. Krantz, who, like Lenni, has a background in hospital administration, gives readers a protagonist to root for—one who finds herself torn between the life she’s created and the one she always thought she’d have.
A charming story of family life and romance that puts a unique twist on a midlife crisis.