Teitelman creates a soulful, coming-of-middle-age journey following Ruthie, a creative New Yorker with a unique skill for attracting dysfunctional relationships.
Ruthie is approaching her 40s, and she pines for the right guy and a relationship that will stay spicy and cozy. She also wants a baby, and it can’t come soon enough. She meets Jake, a sensitive, together artist, and she falls head over wedges. However, Jake and Ruthie face the disapproval of parents, the conflicts of two dominant personalities and, eventually, the trials of raising a son. As Ruthie and Jake’s relationship declines, her relationship with her best friend, Grace, flourishes. Grace and her husband, Max, become a safety net and a place of solace for Ruthie, who, now single, needs more support than ever. Though this book develops rich relationships among characters, it also relies on ongoing crises for momentum. As soon as Ruthie finds solace with Grace and Max, their lives are upended by Grace’s illness. The tables turn, and Grace needs Ruthie’s help through surgeries, appointments and her own emotional problems. The novel eloquently covers a span of several years and many hardships through short chapters and vignettes that continuously build energy and momentum. Never boring, Ruthie’s friends and trial-boyfriends are poets, artists, antique collectors, dancers, pudgy kind-hearts and snow-skiing bombshells. Teitelman spins a rich story full of the sharp laughs of women who have been there and who hold pitch-perfect converstaions complete with snarky inside jokes. At the same time, she manages to avoid cloying scenes about illness, childbirth and marriage. Readers may enjoy Ruth’s colorful narration and be moved by depictions of small, universal moments.
A witty, sharp novel that explores the way age, illness and parenting drive even the strongest characters toward growth and redemption.