The Hole in the Middle

The Hole in the Middle

Book - 2013
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I Don't Know How She Does It for the This Is 40 generation

Sophie Whelan is the epitome of the modern superwoman. When she operates at peak performance, she can cajole balky employees, soothe her cranky children, troubleshoot career disasters, throw a dinner party for ten and draft an upbeat Christmas letter--all in the same day.

But as Sophie's fortieth birthday looms, her seamless life reveals disturbing web-like fractures. Conflict with her boss, blossoming jealousy of her husband's femme fatale business partner and her feelings of hopeless inadequacy as a mother and daughter are cracking the edifice of her life.

Rescue may be at hand when Lillian Parker, a wealthy widow who befriended Sophie during her university days, makes Sophie an irresistible offer. Why, then, does Sophie hesitate? The answer is the reappearance of Lillian's nephew, Will Shannon, the great unresolved love of Sophie's life. As she remembers the vivid drama of their college romance, Sophie confronts the choices she has made in life and in love and looks for the one answer that has always eluded her: what does she really want?

The Hole in the Middle is a heartbreaking love story, a laugh-outloud portrayal of the twin demands of work and family and a fresh take on the hot debate about having it all. It is not to be missed.

Publisher: Toronto : HarperCollinsPublishers Ltd., c2013
ISBN: 9781443429535
Branch Call Number: HIL
Characteristics: 278 p. ;,23 cm

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Cdnbookworm May 12, 2014

This novel is a story of a woman, Sophie Whelan, in her late thirties with two young children. Her boss is an idiot. Her workload is increasing by the day, her husband seems more interested in his business partner than he is in her, and her children are a handful. So when a man from her past calls her, she can't help but wonder why things didn't work out between them.
Sophie is the head of communications for a children's hospital, and she is faced with many challenges at work. Her assistant does little to assist her, some of her employees need more supervision than someone at their level should need, and her boss dumps other department work on her and sets her near impossible deadlines for projects. Her youngest son has yet another ear infection, her late pickups threaten his spot in the daycare, her older son may not be getting the range of experiences she wants for him, and she worries about the amount of television they boys watch. She usually seems to be the one picking the kids up when they're sick, getting up in the night, and dealing with doctors, because her husband's Jesse has deadlines at work, but she worries about her own work deadlines. She hasn't been to book club in months, she hates the family yoga sessions her mother has talked her into, and she feels she is not there when her best friend Zoe needs her to be.
She's beginning to feel that her life has gotten away from her and in trying to have both a family and a career, she somehow has ended up with a life she no longer enjoys. Is she a bad mother, is she a bad manager, is she not looking after herself as she should? Everything seems to be coming together to make her take a hard look at her life.
Besides the story, there were two things I really liked about this book, and maybe that speaks to my love of tests and analysis. The first is Sophie's numerical way of deciding whether to do something or not which she calls Requirement Of Action Rating (ROAR). Her formula reads DPA + GF + NBLG - AS = ROAR. DPA stands for Desire to Perform Activity. GF stands for Guilt Factor associated with not doing it. NBLG stands for the Need to Behave Like a Grown-up. AS stands for Allowable Selfishness. I thought this was a very interesting way of looking at things, and made a lot of sense. The other bit I really liked was her friend Zoe's theory of romantic archetypes, which I won't go into here, but found really interesting.
I'll definitely be looking for more from Hilton as I really enjoyed her writing. Her prose flowed nicely, the plot was good, and I liked her characters.

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