In 1967 a group of women bond at the playground in Palo Alto, California. They are different in background and personality, yet united in their love for family and in a dream, to be authors. They agree to meet once a week to critique each other’s work, while their children play. In time, this critique extends to the definition of who they are as women, in an era when the gold standard of feminine excellence is at it’s essence to be a successful homemaker or Miss America.
Over the next few years we learn a great deal about each of these women. The true nitty gritty stuff that only best friends ever find out. What are they most ashamed of, what are they trying to keep hidden for fear of being judged in a judgmental era, and what is their true motivation driving them to complete a novel.
History is made along the way, Vietnam war and protests, astronauts race to be first to the moon, and progress in women’s issues – at the personal and national level. This backdrop and deftly woven in context are what set this story apart from other ones about bonds and traumas of friendship and family. And yes there are traumas, no one can hurt you more than those who know you best. When those you love disappoint you, it is the sharpest cut of all.
The years go by and some members of the group begin to experience success. Will that cement the bond or will jealousy tear them apart? The non-answer is this – this unique group of women handle success of their members in their own unique way. The final pages really spoke to my heart, funny yet poignant, I laughed through my tears.