Friday, February 4, 2011

'Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakthrough' by Ruth Pennebaker (TLC Tour Book)

Genre:  Dysfunctional Family Drama
Author: Ruth Pennebaker
About (from TLC website)

Joanie’s ex-husband is having a baby with his new girlfriend. Joanie won’t be having more babies, since she’s decided never to have sex again. But she still has her teenaged daughter Caroline to care for. And thanks to the recession, her elderly mother Ivy as well. Her daughter can’t seem to exist without texting, and her mother brags about “goggling,”-while Joanie, back in the workforce, is still trying to figure out her office computer. And how to fend off the advances of her coworker Bruce. Joanie, Caroline, and Ivy are stuck under the same roof, and it isn’t easy. But sometimes they surprise each other-and themselves. And through their differences they learn that it is possible to undo the mistakes of the past.

1.) Reasons you chose this book

I take a lot of time to read the synopsis of the books that I'm offered to read for TLC and thought this one would be a book that I would enjoy. I'm always interested in family dynamics and having three women from different generations under one roof could prove to be a fun read.

2.) Reasons you liked or disliked this book

  • I enjoyed Ruth's style of writing and the premise of the story. I was pulled into the unfolding drama and found myself enjoying the book. But somewhere in the middle I started to get a bit tired of all of the negativity and the rehashing of the same old problems.
  • Joanie was a character that I had a lot of sympathy for. I think because I'm so close to Joanie's age and could realistically see myself in her exact situation. I couldn't imagine the stress of having my elderly mother living with me on a daily basis!!!!!!!!! I think the author should've started earlier in the story to make life-changing decisions for Joanie. I would've been more interested in the story if that would have happened.
  • I did enjoy the love interest between Joanie and Bruce. I liked how Joanie decided that she was willing to just kick up her heels and be spontaneous for once in her life.
3. Reasons for recommending:
  • Overall, this was just an okay read for me. I didn't hate it, but I don't find myself able to gush about it either. However, I do like to add that just because it wasn't a stellar read for me doesn't mean that you wouldn't enjoy it. With that being said, please check out what other bloggers on the tour are saying about Ruth Pennebaker's novel, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakthrough.
Rating: 2.75/5

Hospitable Pursuits: "Ms. Pennebaker has crafted a uproarious novel about characters who are amazingly recognizable."

Love to Read for Fun- "I enjoyed reading Women on the Verge. The tone is light, funny and sometimes snarky. "

About Ruth Pennebaker

Ruth Pennebaker writes about women’s issues, families, marriage, aging, politics, and anything else that interests her at her popular The Fabulous Geezersisters blog.
She’s also the Urban Cowgirl columnist at the Texas Observer, an occasional commentator at KUT public radio in Austin, and the author of three acclaimed young adult novels. Her work has appeared in nationwide publications, including The New York Times, McCall’s, Redbook and other newspapers and magazines. She lives in Austin with her mad scientist husband, their cat, Lefty, and the accumulation of stuff from their two emerging-adult children.

Published: January 4, 2011
Publisher:  Berkley Trade
Genre: Contemporary Women's Fiction
ISBN: 9780981956886
Disclaimer:Thank you to Ruth Pennebaker for sending me a review copy. I was not compensated for my review. My thoughts on this book were in no way influenced by the author or publicist.They are my personal reflections based solely on MY experience while reading this novel
  © 2011, Staci of Life in the Thumb. All Rights Reserved. If you reading this on a site other than, Life in the Thumb or Staci's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.


  1. I am definitely with you at not being able to live under the same roof with an aging parent, not after dealing with my 97 year old dad. I wouldn't be on the verge of a nervous breakdown, I would have had it after the first week.

    I can see where this book could have had a lot more potential than it seems to have delivered.

  2. Wow --- this story sounds like a reflection of my own life :)

    Thanks so much for your honest review, Staci! I do think I might try to borrow this from the library.

  3. Sorry this one was a bit of a disappointment, think it might be a library borrow down the track :)

  4. I'm part of the "sandwich generation" - those still helping children out and caring for older parents, so I think I could relate to Joanie. Sorry to see you didn't enjoy it more.

  5. I love the designation of the genre. It is true there are so many of these out now! And I agree, living with an aging parent (which we did for two months) is quite the trial!

  6. I'm sorry this one wasn't a favorite for you but I do appreciate you being a part of the tour. Hopefully your next read will be a better fit.

  7. This one is completely new to me. I love the title. :)

  8. That's a bummer it wasn't that good! The title alone would have drug me in! :):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):)

  9. Too bad it wasn't better for you.
    I feel..meh about it. I do not think it would rock my boat

  10. I really like the title--I'm always on the verge of a nervous break(down)

    Here's a link that will take you to something you really should give yourself for valentines day--

  11. Another good, honest review. The fact that the book dragged is probably the same way that whole situation would be feeling to the characters. Three females of three different generations would definitely drag me down.

  12. As one who likes to read about family dynamics, I may give this a try to see how I respond.

  13. I like the idea of the three generations living together, but negativity for too long can really ruin a story. Too bad this one didn't work for you.

  14. The premise of this one does sound interesting! I may have to check it out at some point. Thanks once again for the honest review!

  15. under the best of circumstances, three generations under one roof is going to cause someone to cave in. I think my kids dread the day one of us will have to live with them. Excellent review Staci, I just wished it had been a better reading experience for you.

  16. Sounds like it's worth a try, even though you didn't love it.

  17. Sounds interesting but I'll pick it up cautiously based on your review.

  18. Sounds like a lot of drama going on in this book!


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