Review: Five Days by Douglas Kennedy


Title: Five Days

Author: Douglas Kennedy

Published: Hutchinson:Random House April 2013

Read a sample

Status: Read from April 14 to 16, 2013 — I own a copy {Courtesy Random House Au/Netgalley}

My Thoughts:

On the day before I began reading Five Days, an article appeared in the weekend paper supplement titled the Silver Years Itch. This article examined the growing trend of mid life divorce, most commonly instigated by wives who, after twenty years or so of marriage and child-rearing, are leaving to rediscover who they are, or were, as individuals, as distinct from wives and mothers.

Five Days explores this phenomena by introducing 42 year old Laura who finds that contentment with her life’s path is becoming increasingly elusive. Her marriage is crumbling, her children are moving into adulthood and her work as an X-ray technician is no longer satisfying. She looks forward to temporarily escaping home and work to attend a weekend medical conference in Boston and that is where she meets Richard, an insurance salesman, and is stunned to rediscover joy, passion and hope for the future.

<i>”…we all know these women because they are, more or less, reflections of ourselves.”</i> comments Laura while discussing The Easter Parade by Richard Yates with her best friend Lucy, and I think this is what Kennedy hopes the audience of Five Days will find. That readers will empathise with Laura’s restlessness, with her rediscovery of happiness and the choices she makes. I do think that Kennedy displays real insight into the complicated nature of personal sacrifice made by women to nurture marriages and children. Laura has spent years putting her family’s needs before her own and being both emotionally and financially responsible for them has taken it’s toll.

Aside from generally finding adultery contemptible, I was less taken by the whirlwind relationship that develops between Laura and Richard which I thought shifted between wildly romantic and farcial. I had no problem figuring how it was all going to end though ultimately I appreciated it’s contribution to Laura’s growth.

Five Days is a contemporary story of life, love and second chances. I did enjoy the novel, which I found a reasonably quick and thought provoking read, though my cynical side prevented me from being swept away completely. Still, I am tempted by the premises of a number of the author’s backlist titles and may find time to read more from Douglas Kennedy.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Leeswammes
    Apr 20, 2013 @ 18:11:26

    Sounds like a good read as such, with great insights in mid-life issues for women. I also don’t like the idea of protagonists running off with other men rather than trying to work on their own marriage. But I think it’s a book I’d like to try.



  2. stacybuckeye
    Apr 30, 2013 @ 14:25:51

    I tend to have problems with books that focus on infedelity but this one tempts me.



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