Thursday, January 12, 2012

Book Review - Leaving the world

Just read a very good book called "Leaving the World" by Douglas Kennedy. The story revolves around the disaster-packed life of of Jane Howard, a brilliant Harvard-educated woman. On the night of her 13th birthday she announces to her parents, “I am never getting married and I am never having children.” She declares this as a result of seeing her parents getting drunk and arguing with each other when out celebrating her birthday. But then her father decides to leave the family the next morning, and Jane’s mother blames her daughter for having put the idea into his head. After that, her relationship with her mother is never the same.
The book then moves on to Harvard several years later where Jane has a tragic love affair with her professor, then gets a job in the Freedom Mutual hedge fund to make some money to cheer herself up. Jane gets in trouble for lending money to her long-lost father, who turns out to have links with the mafia and so Jane loses her job. 
Jane's next job is at a state University, where she starts a love affair with a geeky, film buff called Theo. After drinking way too much of the happy juice one night, Jane falls pregnant. Theo turns out to be a useless father and an even more useless businessman, and soon Jane is left alone with her daughter and mounds of debt and eviction threatening her. The stress results in yet another disaster for poor Jane – the worst so far – necessitating yet another exit from the world and yet another job.
The action then moves to Canada where Jane's life takes another surprising twist. 
This is not a suicide story although the title suggests it could be, but it is not a "feel-good" story either. However it does have a reasonably happy ending. Definitely very readable and recommended, if only to make you realize that your life is pretty good all things considered...

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