Women's perceptions of what and who they are and what and who they can be. Adams, a novelist (Seattle Green, 1987, etc.) and nonfiction writer (Making Good: Conversations with Successful Men, 1981, etc.) particularly addresses those women who put their lives on hold while passively dreaming of a ""Prince"" to sweep them into matrimony, of a career breakthrough, or of a way of life more in harmony with their aspirations and talents. Adams claims that many women interpret their present experiences in light of a past freighted with fairy-tale concepts and outdated parental and societal messages that women are basically passive and that their destiny is marriage and children or--depending on the parents--a specific vocation. She calls on these ""Sleeping Beauties"" to open up their minds for growth and change. Adams details how she and other women have enriched themselves through the joys of solitude, of friendships with men as well as women, of traveling not to meet a Prince but because they have an unfulfilled desire to take up scuba-diving, see the great art of Europe, etc. She also discusses what she sees in herself and many other women: a Sleeping Beauty's penchant for ""financial illiteracy."" Another chapter deals with various unmarried women's perspectives on ""Catch 35"": what to do when you want children and your biological clock is running down. The women whose lives Adams describes and whom she frequently quotes are an unusually savvy bunch. Between them and the author, who has a masterly prose style, readers will pick up new insights on how to live the good life.