“We flatter ourselves by thinking this compulsion to please others an attractive trait: a gift for imaginative empathy, evidence of our willingness to give.” –Joan Didion, “On self-respect”
Thus begins Break In Case of Emergency, A Novel. Jen is the ultimate pleaser- or presents herself that way. She is the artist, demurring her talent, while raising up others. The one that will never talk finances-while mentally calculating the differences in life styles (for this, I blame her parents, who have an odd notion of keeping things “fair”). Her husband, Jim, is her perfect foil. He supports her, in all things even while he makes a joke of them, while still trying to move her toward being for self-serving.
When she gets laid off at her job, Jen needs things to do. She begins large paintings for her friend Pam’s art show: Break In Case of Emergency, and talks to her successful friend Meg about jobs. Landing in a company called Lift (half charity, half publication from what I can tell. Personally, this place would drive me nuts- never a straight answer, everything is” fluid” and” transcendent” and “empowering”. Or it is an acronym for these things. They go on and on about the Feminine empowerment without calling it feminism. They give scholarships to one group of girls, but as they look too Americanized, they use other pics they found of girls that had nothing to do with the scholarship. These things drive Jen insane, but in the interest of keeping everyone happy she never says anything.
As all her friends are successful and having children, she and Jim are going for heavily euphemized treatments. A miscarriage sends Jen spiraling and tattered, but the job apparently must go on. Slowly, Jen begins to speak up for herself and thinking about what is best for her. A chance encounter at the art show opens doors for Jen’s own creative efforts, and we leave them expecting a special delivery.
I got this book from First To Read in exchange for an honest review. My honest opinion is… meh. I didn’t dislike the characters; in fact I am very fond of Daisy, Jim, Meg and Millie. There were just so many characters I wanted to strangle- sometimes the main character, but usually Leona and company. I feel like the author wanted this to be something more, something meaningful. Perhaps a piece of social commentary, but it didn’t seem that heavy. It felt fluffier with fun bits from Jim and Daisy, and heartbreak through in vintro. It was interesting to see Jen’s reaction to everyone, both mental and aloud. I would give it three and a half stars.
This book will be out 7-12-16. I would be interested to hear other’s views.
On the adult content scale, I give it a two. Some language.
Link to Book: