DIVIDED LIVES: The Public and Private Struggles of Three Accomplished Women by Elsa Walsh

DIVIDED LIVES: The Public and Private Struggles of Three Accomplished Women

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Three women at moments of crisis in their lives, captured in empathetic and revealing portraits. As Washington Post reporter Walsh points out, the three women are accomplished, well known in their spheres, but not all ready for prime-time celebrity coverage. Meredith Vieira, a television reporter who made it briefly as a 60 Minutes correspondent, struggles with CBS to accommodate her life as both a mother and as a reporter. Rachael Worby, trying to reconcile her dual roles as an orchestra conductor and wife of the governor of West Virginia, is seen during one of her husband's critical campaigns for reelection. Alison Estabrook fights to head the breast surgery group at New York City's Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center after being passed over because she is a woman. There is drama inherent in each of these tales. Will 60 Minutes let Vieira work from home? Can music balance politics in the life of Worby? Will Estabrook reach her goal? The answers are no, maybe, and yes. That can be told because the meat of this book is not in the climaxes, but in the extraordinary way these women reveal themselves. After a long struggle to get pregnant, Vieira has her first child just as her career takes off. Although the network cooperates with her demands for flextime and her husband has a flexible schedule that can meet the demands of parenting even as two more children arrive, she makes the painful discovery that she does not want to relinquish her powers in the home any more than she wants to give up the power of 60 Minutes. It is a not-always-pretty confrontation with self that many women face. The stories of Worby and Estabrook offer similar revelations and a similar resonance. Stories both unique and universal, notable for illuminating the gremlins of thought and feeling that drive most lives.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1995
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster