-by Danielle Crittenden
336 pages (2003)
Well-written, brimming with quick wit and authentic characterization, Amanda Bright @ Home was an enjoyable light read.
Inspite of the fact that I am not a mother myself, I could sympathize with many of Bright’s plights including her innate craving to feel needed and significant. (I think, deep down we all do.) As the main character - all too human and ‘real’ – Amanda is instantly likeable and true-to-life.
What hit close to home was Amanda’s frustration at being surrounded by superficial women of the community who seemed to sharpen their claws at the sight of simple, intelligent, Bohemian Amanda - an unexpected threat to their ‘perfect’ not-so-perfect pampered realm. In a community reeling with sprawling mansions, status symbols, face-lifts, and shallow fashion magazine ‘perfect’ ladies - down-to-earth Amanda struggles to fit in, and at the same time desperately attempts to find her place in the world - endeavoring to balance motherhood with the secular workforce she yearns to be a part of.
Where I harbor no major criticism of this touching bit of fiction, I must admit that at times I felt that the main character was a bit too envious of her peers’ situation, listing off their assets in stark contrast, overly emphasizing what she didn’t have – almost bordering on whining at times. However, this is not atypical if one is in an unhappy situation and is surrounded by negative feelings and self-depreciating thoughts. In this case, I suppose the old cliché applies: “the grass is always greener on the other side.”
Since I am not a mother myself, I feel somewhat ill-qualified to give this book the review it deserves. However I can definitely say that my admiration for a mother’s many sacrifices has only deepened after reading this very enjoyable book. My kudos go to Crittenden for her compelling narrative.
- reviewed for Time Warner books