All the Right Mistakes
by Laura Jamison
Paperback, 328 pages
Expected publication: August 4th 2020 by She Writes Press
Five college friends have arrived at forty in very different circumstances, but with at least one thing in common: they are among the more privileged in society. Elizabeth and Sara are lawyers, Martha is a doctor, Carmen is a wealthy and well-educated homemaker, and Heather, the most successful, is a famous tech executive―and after more than two decades of friendship, they know one another better than anyone.
Then Heather writes a women’s advice book detailing the key life “mistakes” of her four friends―opting out, ramping off, giving half effort, and forgetting your fertility―that becomes wildly popular, and Elizabeth, Sara, Martha, and Carmen all feel the sting of Heather’s cruel words. Despite their status, these women face everyday obstacles, including work problems, parenting challenges, secondary infertility, racism, sexism, financial stress, and marital woes―and as they weather their fortieth year, each one can’t help but wonder if their life might have been different if they had followed Heather’s advice.
But as these friends are continually reminded, life is complex, messy, disappointing, and joyful, often all at once―and no one can plan her way out of that reality. In the end, all five women must embrace the idea that their lives are shaped not just by their choices but also by how they handle the obstacles life inevitably throws at us all.
About the Author:
I never set out to be a writer. But I was always a terrific reader.
I grew up in a town of two thousand, nestled on the Ohio River. My fondest childhood memories were combing the stacks of the Ripley Library, the last Carnegie Library to be built in the state of Ohio, or going with my parents to the mall and being allowed to buy a new book. I read everything, but, even then, I had a particular fondness for books that considered women’s choices. Those of you of a certain age might remember the Sunfire books, a series of young adult historical romance novels published by Scholastic Books in the 1980s. I collected them all. It wasn’t the romance that drew me in. It was the choices – should Emily simply fall back on her wealthy family or follow her dream to work hard and become a nurse? No chance, of course, for Emily to become a doctor in turn-of-the century New York.
When it was time for my own choices, I gravitated to law. There was a lot I loved about it, and still do. At its best, practicing law is about thinking creatively and helping people craft solutions that create new value for both sides. I’ve been lucky to practice law both in a large national firm and at two publicly traded companies while raising my four children. No two days are the same and I have had the good fortune to work alongside a number of talented people including my most important partner, my husband, Nate (feeding twins at midnight and three a.m. so I can sleep–he’s got that handled).
And yet. Life had more in store for me because in the summer of 2016, at the ripe old age of 41, I began work on my first novel. I hadn’t written a word of fiction since middle school (at least not that I can remember). I was visiting my parents when the idea for the book came to me. I read a news item that Ivanka was writing a book about how women could architect their lives to be successful. Here we go again, I thought. Another book geared toward telling women, not institutions or society, to change themselves (and from an author who I doubted had a perspective that would be relevant to most moms). Exhausting and irritating. But Ivanka, after all, is a person who is trying to be helpful, in her way. What if she was your friend, even your best friend? And so the idea All the Right Mistakes was born.
From my perspective, I believe that we are living in an extraordinary time for women. While it’s true that there have never been more choices for women than there are now, it’s also true that there is significant, unfinished business when it comes to achieving equality at work and home. I don’t have the solution, but I do have a story to tell. I’m grateful to my publisher, She Writes Press, for giving me a opportunity to tell it. Please drop me a note and tell me your story. Or better yet, write it, because, whatever happens to me as a writer, I know one thing for sure–I’ll always be reading! https://laurajamisonauthor.com/
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