This book packs a wallop. It’s the story of the Fleishmans, a couple who have grown apart dramatically and are in the dying stage of their marriage. Toby is a doctor, one who loves doctoring and has no interest in advancing his career (and income) toward administration. Rachel is a talent scout with a stellar client list and unlimited ambition. She makes more money; he does more of the daily care for their two children. The narrator is a woman who doesn’t really figure into the story; most of the time, I actually forgot about her and thought the narration came from Toby and/or Rachel. The first part of the book is from Toby’s point of view — his resentments of Rachel for being an absentee parent, for always putting her career first, for hungering so desperately after the trappings and status of extreme wealth. I agreed with him on everything! She’s selfish and shallow and unappreciative of his contributions to their lives. But then the second part of the book is from Rachel’s point of view. She does the research to identify the best educational and enrichment opportunities for their children, handles the scheduling and logistics of their lives, and befriends prominent and influential people; leaving just the leg-work and custodial tasks for Toby to do. She tries mightily to ensure that her children feel they “belong,” something she never felt as a child. There is an utter lack of understanding between Toby and Rachel, and this book shows how easily understanding another person — even one we love and live with — can elude us.

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