Welcome to the TLC Book Tour for The Seven Year Bitch
Isolde “Izzy” Brilliant’s thirty-ninth birthday is rapidly approaching. A former hedge fund manager with an MBA, she was laid off, along with many colleagues, but provided a generous severance package. Her husband, Russell, is an attorney who was on partnership track until he decided to launch his own book publishing business. He and Isolde have sunk thousands of dollars into the business without yet seeing a return, unless you count the endless sea of boxes containing unsold books that are stacked throughout their New York City apartment. They have an infant son, Duncan, whom Isolde adores, but she is not at all sure that she is ready to be a stay-at-home wife and mother, especially considering how little help she gets from Russell, who can’t even manage to figure out how to fold up Duncan’s umbrella stroller.
Izzy does not know what she wants to do with her life. She is discontented and confused. After four years of marriage, she doesn’t think that she still loves Russell, but loathes the thought of turning her son into a child of divorce and doesn’t relish the thought of single parenting. And she worries about what her friend, Joy, told her about marriage over lunch: “He turned me into something I didn’t want to be. Seven years of having to nag, and scream, and fight, and be a policeman in my own home was enough for me. It’s not that you get a seven year itch. It’s that they turn you into a seven year bitch. After seven years you can’t take it anymore.”
Will Izzy turn into a seven year bitch? Will she stay with Russell? Will she return to work or become a stay-at-home mom (SAHM)? Will she and Russell have more children? All of those questions loom as the story begins.
Review:Izzy is having a mid-life crisis, even though she is a very fortunate woman. She has lost her job, but received a very generous severance package that, along with her investments, allows her to choose whether or not to work. She and Russell live in a comfortable New York City apartment, despite the fact that her husband’s business has never been profitable. Shortly after she is laid off, the nanny quits. Even though she really has no need for a nanny, Izzy advertises for and hires a new one who cares for her infant son who is still breast-feeding while Izzy roams aimlessly around New York City trying to decide what she wants to do with her life.
Izzy’s conflicted feelings about her marriage are well-founded, however. There is an obvious imbalance in the relationship and Russell is a sometimes insensitive, somewhat effeminate man who truly loves his wife and son but isn’t always good at demonstrating that fact. Izzy grows increasingly frustrated with Russell and not only do they begin to argue constantly, she fantasizes about virtually every other man with whom she comes into contact. That includes a multimillionaire who bids on her investment consulting services at a charity event. Turns out, they met at a club one evening before Izzy was married and she turned down his proposition that night. He’s still interested, repeatedly telling Izzy that she has so many of the qualities he desires in a woman. His offers are tempting.
Izzy’s domestic plight — what to do after the honeymoon is over, the first child arrives, and marriage becomes more about diapers, taking the garbage out, and what’s for dinner than wine and romance — is one with which female readers will readily identify, even if her actual circumstances defy belief or logic. Izzy adores Duncan, but doubts that she can spend the rest of her life being “just” a mother. She is used to being successful in a highly competitive, technical profession. She once loved Russell but questions whether their history and co-parenting is sufficient for them to survive their current rough times as a couple. Izzy’s fantasies are symptomatic of her discontent and bewilderment at how her life has turned out — and frequently very funny. She tells her problems to her mother, who relays them to her own psychiatrist and then advises Izzy. She and Russell also attempt counseling as a couple.
In one particularly humorous scene, Russell has a Poland Springs hot and cold water dispenser installed in the apartment, and Izzy is delighted with it, as is Russell. They are so deliriously happy to find that they have that one thing in common and can actually agree about it that they celebrate. Beneath the hilarity is a theme that will resonate with any reader who has been married for a long time: Sometimes you have to stop and savor a moment of joy and harmony in the relationship and household, no matter how that transitory bliss was achieved.
The Seven Year Bitch is entertaining, often outrageous or hilarious and, ultimately, poignant and sweet. Izzy is an extremely intelligent, articulate woman whose life circumstances and experiences may differ dramatically from the average female reader but her emotions do not. Marriages ebb and flow, grow stagnate for a time, but are revitalized and survive . . . or don’t. Contemplating a fortieth birthday and what lies beyond is a life-changing experience, especially for women who have to face the fact that the children they already have are growing up, their child-bearing years are numbered, and once they mark that milestone, their lives will never be the same again. The Seven Year Bitch makes a perfect beach or poolside read because it is witty and occasionally wacky, but by its conclusion, Izzy finds some of the answers she seeks.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one copy of The Seven Year Bitch free of charge from the author in conjunction with the TLC Book Tours review and virtual book tour program. I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own. This disclosure complies with 16 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Enter to Win a Copy of The Seven Year Bitch
Two lucky readers, selected at random, will receive a copy of The Seven Year Bitch, graciously provided by the author.
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