Five years of being a widow has not been easy for Julia Alden, but through it all she has had her teenage daughter, Gwen. Perhaps the girl is spoiled but they've grown close and, after all, what mother wouldn't do anything for her child? Francesca Segal tries to answer that question in her witty and wise novel The Awkward Age.
Somewhat to her surprise Julia has fallen head over heels in love with James Fuller, an American obstetrician and father of seventeen-year-old Nathan who may be a bit over confident and enjoys teasing Gwen. If that were all there wouldn't be much of a problem but Gwen thoroughly dislikes James and wants her mother back all to herself. Believing in a happy blended family James and Nathan move into Julia's home. Sound the alarm this is the beginning of an all out civil war.
Neither Gwen nor Nathan like the idea of this new family that has been formed without their consent, but why did they start sleeping together? Was it anger, revenge, what? During a trip to Boston Julia notices that the young ones are being nicer to each other. But she is really taken aback when Gwen haughtily announces "Nathan and I are together." Very much together as a pregnancy ensues. This would seem to throw James and Julia's relationship out the window. Do they not have a right to love or must they sacrifice everything for their children?
Francesca Segal's probing novel raises many a question so appropriate for this day and time. It well may cause many of us to rethink our definition of family. I found myself listening to The Awkward Age a second time so as not to miss a nuance or phrase from this award winning writer.
Jayne Entwistle delivers an excellent narration.