I absolutely love this book. It’s so emotionally intelligent, so insightful, and so beautifully written.
Expectation is about the chasm between the lives we once imagined we would have, and the lives we actually end up living. Three young women, friends from childhood, are still bond together a decade after leaving university. Cate is a new mother, shattered and exhausted by sleep deprivation and her overbearing mother-in-law’s opinions about Cate’s maternal skills. Her relationship with her partner, Sam, is fraught and distant.
Cate’s friend Hannah runs a charity and is married to Nathan, a university lecturer. Despite her professional success and comfortable lifestyle, Hannah is desperately unhappy. After many cycles of IVF she cannot conceive.
The third member of the group is Lissa, a failing actress. Despite her beauty, she is increasingly bitter about her lack of success.
Three friends; their hopes once so high, now each forced to confront the disappointing reality behind their broken illusions.
The thread of thwarted female expectation runs through this perceptive novel. Lissa’s mother, a fiercely independent feminist, asks her daughter: ‘You’ve had everything. The fruits of our labour. The fruits of our activism. And what have you done with it?’
This book constantly asks if feminism has really brought freedom and happiness to 21st century women, as the characters struggle with disappointment and rivalry.
Expectation is an exceptionally wise book. Every emotion experienced by the three women feels deeply authentic. As a man, I was fascinated to read a novel which Judy assures me is incredibly perceptive about modern women. I salute them – and this excellent book.