(I'm still holding to my hiatus, but couldn't resist sharing some thoughts on this!)
I saw this story profiled months ago in the Book Wars section of Stylist magazine (print edition) and immediately wanted to read it. I was curious about how the narrative would follow the thread of time through from adolescence to the onset of adulthood and into "middle age", whatever that means these days. My curiosity was richly rewarded.
Wolitzer weaves the years with such grace and artistry, and with a light touch that makes the plot's emotionally complex content poignant but unobstructive. As with life, sometimes pivotal moments filter through to consciousness with a level of understatement while other things that are fixated on turn out not to be so integral after all.
Experiencing the forward march of time through the eyes of Jules Jacobson and her friends was revelatory. More than scripture or self-help, this book put flesh on the bones of that elusive concept: living in the now. This book made me appreciate afresh that life is such a curious beast and there isn't some distant point in time where the loose threads will tie together and everything will fall into place. Life is just a ragbag of phases, strung alongside each other with the drift and pull of the past and future constantly vying for attention.
Living through Jules' eyes gave me more patience for myself and my own struggles against putting too much of my hope in the future. But her life is also my rescue flare, reminding me how impossible and exhausting trying to second guess the future really is. And how ineffective.