I was recommended this book in 2007. I have only gotten around to reading it now and, to be honest, I was pretty disappointed with it.
The idea of it was original enough, the book split into two and told from two different points of view: that of Jack and his wife Brenda. Jack is seemingly a happily married man with a successful career. But when Brenda goes away for a week, he starts reassessing his life. Brenda’s story is that of her new-found freedom during her week away in Philadelphia.
We encounter Brenda and Jack’s irritating children, their neighbours and Jack’s parents but, in this whole novel, there is not one character that I liked.
Out of the two halves, I found Jack’s story more interesting although I must admit that, throughout the whole novel, I just kept waiting for something to happen. And even when something did happen, it was entirely underwhelming. If that was Shields’ intention, to demonstrate how mundane the lives of these characters were, she succeeded.