I’m Fine and Neither are you Book Cover I’m Fine and Neither are you
Camille Pagan
women's fiction
Lake Union Publishing
(1 April 2019)

Honesty is the best policy…except maybe when it comes to marriage in this brilliant novel about the high price of perfection from bestselling author Camille Pagán. Wife. Mother. Breadwinner. Penelope Ruiz-Kar is doing it all—and barely keeping it together. Meanwhile, her best friend, Jenny Sweet, appears to be sailing through life. As close as the two women are, Jenny’s passionate marriage, pristine house, and ultra-polite child stand in stark contrast to Penelope’s underemployed husband, Sanjay, their unruly brood, and the daily grind she calls a career. Then a shocking tragedy reveals that Jenny’s life is far from perfect. Reeling, Penelope vows to stop keeping the peace and finally deal with the issues in her relationship. So she and Sanjay agree to a radical proposal: both will write a list of changes they want each other to make—then commit to complete and total honesty. What seems like a smart idea quickly spirals out of control, revealing new rifts and even deeper secrets. As Penelope stares down the possible implosion of her marriage, she must ask herself: When it comes to love, is honesty really the best policy?

A very nice exposition of the strains on a marriage of children and a partner working a really difficult, and for her, stressful job.

As a reverse home-maker – ie house husband – he quite clearly clearly is not as home-making as could be expected as she has to come home and cook, do the washing and general tidy. But then he claims to be a writer and working at his next big article – which never quite gets published – and then there is the ‘book’. All of which prevents him from getting up in the night to the children – as he is too tired. A husband who lacks emotional sensitivity and understanding of what his role should have been when she pulls in the big bucks that enable him to stay at home and ‘work’.

I enjoyed this story-line and thought that the impact of lack of sleep and job stress were well told in a humorous but also truthful manner – as we never got a full night’s sleep until our oldest was over 5 years old and know so well the strain that that brings.

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