The story involves a woman who is so busy juggling home and work that she has a heart attack without realising it. She is told by her doctors to convalesce, but stepping down from her usual duties seems to make everyone impatient so she completely flips her lid and runs away.
Her protagonist, Maribeth, was quite an engaging, complex character, nicely flawed, and was in a situation a lot of working mothers would identify with. After taking a career break to raise her small children, she has gone back to work ostensibly part time but has found, like a lot of part time workers, that all she is doing is cramming full time responsibilities into a shorter working week. She's also still having to manage all the home chores that she was taking on before, juggling play dates and school events and all the household minutiae that get overlooked until you're the one who actually has to take responsibility for it.
I was really pleased at how much Maribeth grew as a character over the course of the book and how she affected the other people she met in her new life. The plot itself is fairly meandering - this is more a characterthan a plot driven novel - but it was still really listenable (and I don't always get on well with audiobooks).
I don't know if it's because I've read Gayle Foreman's YA books and that's what I'm used to, or if it's just Foreman's style, but it felt quite reminiscent of YA. The themes of finding yourself, new beginnings gave it quite a contemporary YA feel. This isn't a bad thing and I think it still stands up well as adult literature.
The book also explores the fact that even in today's society where many mothers go back to work after having children instead of staying at home, we're still drawing the short straw. There were some parts that made me want to shake Maribeth and tell her to sit her husband down and tell him to start pulling his bloody weight.
The only thing I would probably change about this book was the ending. It was all so nicely wrapped up and Maribeth forgave everyone who had been so instrumental in her having a breakdown. I think I'd have preferred it if she'd just told everyone to go fuck themselves and spentthe rest of her days living in a commune in California, smoking opium and writing bad poetry.