I bought this book by Julia Glass to read while on vacation, so I did not have high hopes for it. It was a bit formulaic, but overall I enjoyed it. I have read many, many books and I have seen these characters before: the precocious four-year old who is smarter than his parents (particularly his father); the husband who is a shrink but won’t speak to his wife; the gay friend/restauranteur; and of course our protaganist-the hardworking concerned mother who just wants a fufilling career, a happy marriage and a well-adjusted son. Toss in the damaged young woman and her family, plus a host of characters-improbably including the governor of New Mexico, and you have quite a mish-mash.
However-the story is very well told. The interaction between the characters is true to life. They make seemingly irrational decisions, and of course there are unintended consequences.
The story revolves around Greenie Duquette, the owner of a bakery in Greenwich Village. Her friendship with Walter, the gay restauranteur, leads to an introduction to Ray McCrae, the above mentioned governor. He offers Greenie a job as the chef at the Governor’s Mansion in New Mexico. Of course she accepts (otherwise there would be no book!), and she takes her son, but not her husband, off to her new life. Not the most probable of circumstances, but this is fiction.
Despite the myriad cast of characters and situations, the book is not at all confusing. It’s a relatively easy read. I’d recommend this book. Two caveats, however: the paperback version is 558 pages; also there are 9/11 related events. If you find that distressing, avoid this book.
Published in hardcover-Pantheon 2006
Softcover edition-Anchor Books 2007