A Year In Her Life - Book Review

A Year In Her Life

Author: Alice Benson
Genre: Fiction - Womens
Publisher: Black Rose Writing
Date Published: July 16, 2019
ISBN-10: 1684333342
ISBN-13: 9781684333349

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Book Review of :  A Year In Her Life


A Year in Her Life by Alice Benson is contemporary women’s fiction that reads like a memoir. The novel is an exploration of love, loneliness, sexual identity, friendships, and the often crushing weight of adult responsibilities. It’s set in an urban area during the 2016 election.    The novel’s protagonist is Bonnie, a young woman who is conflicted in her professional life as she starts a new job at the Transitions House, a women’s shelter. Her job consists of writing grants, and planning fundraisers. The description of her waiting for an interview introduces the reader to who she is; it gives a little glimpse at her character:
      She suffered dry mouth, sweaty palms, was light-headed, and “acid churning with self-doubt in her gut.”
The novel strongly reflects the world through Bonnie’s point of view, often supported by quirky and memorable secondary characters with similar perspectives.

In her personal life, Bonnie is blessed to have two good friends, Vickie and Linda, that she confidently shares her feelings and views with - like a teen at a sleepover. Bonnie has suffered through two breakups with diversely different men. She is bitter about those failed relationships and confides with her friends, her feelings of loneliness and disillusion.

Living alone, Bonnie fantasizes about finding a soulmate. She agonizes over the characteristics of a soulmate: passionate emotions? Morals? Respect. Self-respect. Her ricocheting emotions and romantic daydreams lead her to a foray into lesbianism. Unique and forbidden, a kaleidoscope of passions and naivety release Bonnie’s ambivalence into accepting the advances of a woman.  The relationship intensifies her storm of conflicting emotions, especially when she learns that the woman, Jane, is married with a daughter.  In an ultra-romantic, sensual series of contacts, the women share beliefs and philosophies concerning politics, abortion, race relations, and spousal abuse. Bonnie becomes confused and frightened of losing Jane’s attention when Jane becomes manipulative, controlling, and dishonest.

Bonnie’s obsessive relationship with Jane turns her into a clingy, needy person disillusioned by a one-sided relationship. She rationalizes that love is not logical and that her friends’ opinions of Jane’s manipulations are in error.

On the night of the 2016 election, politics and friendship bring about a personal emotional catastrophe that shakes Bonnie to the core but is also a sign of her maturation as an adult. Bonnie’s moods swing back and forth between happy and miserable. The life that she has been introduced to is a new awakening for Bonnie. Will she eventually understand the reality of true mature love?

Lust sensations, disillusions of storybook romance, rationalization, and sexual harassment are other themes are touched on in this book.  It is informational, as well as controversial. The narrative’s use of the Trump election is central to the theme and gives an interesting counterpoint to his term as President. It is a book that speaks to issues of identity and of the desire to have companionship. The subjects explored in A Year in Her Life are eerily relevant in today’s strange times. It is a commentary on the limitations society places on women and of sexual hypocrisies.

Reviewed by: Carole W

About Alice Benson

Alice Benson lives in Wisconsin with her spouse and their two dogs. She discovered writing as a passion in the third act of her life and spends much of her time in pursuit of metaphors. Alice recently retired from a job in a human services field; previously she spent over thirteen years working with a domestic violence program. Her shorter published works have appeared in a Main Street Rag Anthology, Epiphany, Molotov Cocktail, Cliterature, English Kills Review, Scrutiny Literary Journal, Shooter Literary Magazine, Diverse Voices Quarterly and a variety of other publications. Both of her books and many of her shorter works address intimate partner violence, abuse, and sexual assault. Alice's first book, Her Life is Showing, set in a domestic violence shelter was published by Black Rose Writing in 2014. Alice's second novel, A Year In Her Life, tackles many difficult social issues and was published by Black Rose Writing in July 2019.

Visit http://alicebensonauthor.com/ for more information on Alice Benson


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