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The Things We Cherished - Pam Jenoff I got less than 30 pages into this book before giving up, because it has the most pathetic protagonist ever. She's still mooning over the ex who dumped her years ago, and in the meanwhile, she has no friends, no hobbies, no interests outside of work. She never takes her vacation days because she has nothing else to do. It's implied that her lack of a man is the reason for her pathetic life--which is pretty pathetic in itself--but if she needs a man so badly, then really, there's no excuse for her not dating. And it appears that she doesn't do that either.

Sometimes I think it's bizarre that I so want to read about professional women, and yet I tend to avoid books set in the modern-day U.S. (actually, anywhere in the modern-day first world, really). Then I pick up a book like this and decide that I'm not missing much. At least, in settings where it's really hard for a woman to be independent, a character's building up her own career is considered awesome and worthwhile. In settings where it's totally normal for a woman to have a career, her work is Not Enough and tends to become a sidenote in a book that's really about her finding a man.

When her ex showed up at her office, invited her out to dinner (making clear that this was to talk about work, not a date, because he's married) and she stopped to buy and change into a new blouse en route from work to the restaurant, I knew this was not a book for me.

On second thought, that was when I quit, but I knew beforehand--when he invited her to dinner and she decided she might as well go because (she thought self-pityingly) otherwise she'd only be at home with her cat eating takeout. No, Charlotte, your life is not pathetic because you live alone with a cat. Your life is pathetic because you don't put in the effort to build friendships with people whose company you enjoy, you don't engage in activities that matter to you, you don't take responsibility for making your life something you can enjoy and be proud of. I'd like to think she learns that lesson in this book, but from the sound of it she just "solves" her problems by finding a new man. She's probably a clingy, possessive girlfriend too (not to mention a boring one, since she has no life). Wonder how long it takes before he gets tired of her....