Book Review: "Essie in Progress" by Marjorie Presten
A touching story about life as it should be lived The Wells family has reached a state of crisis. Essie is burning the candle at both ends as she tries to juggle her job, her motherly duties, and her impulsive husband, Jack. Meanwhile, Hamilton, the patriarch, has taken up residence in a dilapidated sailboat on Lake Lanier, trying to forget his past. The one thing that they all have in common is their search for significance. Told with a unique wit and a genuine Southern sensibility, Essie in Progress is a stirring story about realizing the life God has in store for you.
This book was quite a surprise to read. From the front cover and description, I immediately assumed this was going to be another mommy-lit book where the wife has the unruly children and the husband seems to be oblivious to his wife's struggles. Luckily though I was in for a treat as this was not the case. Yes, there is a pregnant mom trying to juggle her kids and her life but there's a twist. She's a working mom and not a SAHM. Essie is a character that you immediately like as you read about her tackling life out in the work force and how to take care of the kiddies back at home. Meanwhile she has to watch her husband face a midlife crisis as he actually goes out and buys the stereotypical Porsche. An incredibly funny scene happens when Essie comes home one day and finds her beloved SUV replaced by a hulking Hummer. The story is also about Jack's estranged father Hamilton and how his life has become unfulfilled. He's had numerous wives that have come and gone. His new catchphrase could be "I'm on a boat!" as that has become his permanent home. He has found out that his so called easy way of life has completely alienated himself from getting to know his only son's family. It's interesting how living on the boat is a metaphor for how unstable and unpredictable Ham has made his life.
The story is very entertaining and it's filled with lots of humor. There were times when I would get a bit miffed with Jack and his lack of concern for Essie's life at times. However their marriage is quite healthy and it's refreshing to see a family who actually enjoys spending time with each other. I believe this is the author's first novel and I really enjoyed reading it. It's fun, light, non preachy and teaches one what's meaningful in life. I'll be looking forward to reading the rest of Majorie's books.