Book Review: The Woman Upstairs

Woman-UpstairsNora Eldridge is the “woman upstairs” in Claire Messud’s book of the same name. As she recounts the tale of a unique love that has helped redefine her, we learn that she’s got a good sense of humor, is a reliable friend, good daughter, and a devoted teacher. But there’s a woman angry at her invisibility and missed opportunity lurking just below the surface.  She’s had enough of being the “woman upstairs” and dreams of fulfilling success that she feels has passed her by.  Her story evolves into part mid-life identity crisis, part psychological thriller when her sedate life crosses paths with a dazzling and exotic international family of academic, artist and cherished child.

Their exciting personal history throws Nora’s life is into relief, highlighting all the danger, creativity, success, and elegance lacking in her own. As her fascination and deeply felt belief in her love of each family member grows, she becomes more convinced of her importance in their lives. Nora’s good humor and routine disintegrate into bitterness and upheaval as she begins to doubt her value.  As the tale unfolds to an O’Henry-esque conclusion, the reader is left to wonder if Nora has the edginess and drive or the disregard for other’s opinions that will allow her to commit to her hoped-for life?  Or maybe she just needs the right sort of betrayal?

You can find this book in the Health Science Library’s Amesse leisure reading collection in an alcove on the east wall of the first floor. Call number:  Amesse F MESSUD WOM

 

[Lynne M. Fox, Education Librarian]

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