Yesterday I paid my $9.99 to purchase and download the fiction novel Meternity, by Meghann Foye.
The book is surrounded by controversy, mostly because of Ms. Foye’s proclamation that she wants all the perks of maternity leaving without having to give birth. And that, apparently, in this new entitled generation (Sadly, it turns out that Ms. Foye is 38, making her 3 years younger than me, and how could anyone born close to my same decade be so entitled and delusional?), maternity leave is a “socially mandated time and space for self-reflection.”
I shudder. Do people really think this? Do they not realize that maternity leave isn’t a “perk” at all, but a right that most pregnant women in the United States are still routinely denied? Or if they are given maternity leave, many are expected to take as little time as possible or risk losing their jobs, while daycares and businesses look down on breastfeeding and other natural choices and most work places still penalize women for needing to take time off to handle sick children and other parental duties?
Whatever. This is supposed to be a review of the actual book I paid for and read.
I will, however, say one more thing about Ms. Foye’s newly coined term “meternity.”
The concept is NOT a new one. A time off from work where you try new things, broaden your horizens, or start something you’ve always dreamed of. It’s NOT new. It’s called a sabbatical. And using that correct terminology doesn’t insult struggling mothers EVERYWHERE who’ve had to fight for what Ms. Foye wants to claim for selfish reasons.
As for the book itself, I am sorry that I paid $9.99 for it. I wish it cost half that. That way, I wouldn’t be half as disappointed as I was.
Amazon lists this book as contemporary American lit, Romance, and Woman’s Fiction. Their first professional review states:
“A fresh, contemporary take on love and work, marriage and motherhood, Meternity is guaranteed to surprise and delight!” —Emily Giffin, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Something Borrowedand First Comes Love
I’ll be honest. I wasn’t delighted.
The main character, Liz Buckley, is selfish, self-absorbed, overly entitled and a bit of a brat.
It’s a “romance” only in that she goes on dates – with men she lies to repeated, shuts herself off from, and treats like dirt throughout the story.
Actually, she spends the entire book lying to everyone. Her boss, her co-workers, the men in her life, even her parents. And she becomes so wrapped up in that lie that she turns on her closest friends.
I should have stopped reading, but I kept going in the hopes that something, anything, would change her attitude by the end of the book. Her best friend/co-worker winds up struggling with fertility issues while Liz fakes a baby bump, doctor’s appointments and sneaks off to have her nails done.
When she is finally caught in her lies, rather than being fired as she deserved, her editors decided to run with the lie and spin it so Liz has been ‘under cover’ on a story that’s going to blow ‘maternity leave scene’ wide open and change the way people see pregnancy and parenting in the workplace.
And possibly save their dwindling magazine sales.
Their sudden support of Liz’s lie helps her to win back the guy she deceived and hurt throughout the story.
She learned NOTHING. No character redemption. She got exactly what she wanted, got the guy, was vindicated in her lies, and even got a promotion.
Happy ending for Liz, and a headache for me, because now I can’t get back the hours I spent hoping for a better resolution. Ugh. Just ugh.
To sum up. The concept is bad. Not funny, and definitely not a good “romance” story. The plot is sub-par, and the character you’re supposed to be ‘rooting for’ is a selfish, entitled waste who thinks maternity leave = free me time when what she really needed to learn was that she was putting in mediocre efforts at a job she’d been at too long without a vacation, thought way too much of those mediocre efforts, and blamed her own failures on the pregnant women in her office.
Again… she needed a sabbatical. Let’s say it folks… sabbatical.