Title: Balancing Acts: A Novel
Author: Zoe Fishman
Release Date: March 16, 2010
Publisher: Harper Paperbacks
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5
Charlie has left her high paying Wall Street job in order to pursue her dream of opening a yoga studio. Now that she’s finally got it up and running, she figures it can’t hurt to do some networking at her ten-year college reunion. However, she doesn’t expect to meet three women from her college days that she really connects with. Naomi is a single mom who does website design from home, while Sabine is a romance book editor but dreams of writing her own book one day. Bess works for a gossip magazine, but is searching for that “big story” that will turn her into a real reporter. When the lives of these four women intersect, none of them will be the same.
Balancing Acts is a fun women’s fiction novel that is easy to read and full of warmth. I love that it centered around yoga, and that it was such a passion of Charlie’s. These four women in a yoga studio together every Saturday morning seems like the perfect way to start the weekend, and with Zoe Fishman’s great writing, the reader will feel like they are the fifth member of this delightful class.
I appreciated all four of these women, though I have to say I enjoyed reading about Bess’s journey the most. It’s ironic, because she was actually my least favorite character when the novel began. She was selfish and desperate to prove herself, and as a result, she wasn’t very appealing. However, she began to transform as the novel progressed and made some serious realizations about herself. I loved the fact that this growth was organic and Bess came to it on her own, rather than being spurred by some sort of dramatic confrontation. Fishman did an excellent job writing this storyline, and indeed, the stories of all four women. It would have been easy to fall back on clichés and overused plots, yet that’s not what happened. It made the novel as a whole very refreshing.
The underlying message of Balancing Acts is also a welcome one – to slow down and breathe. Fishman discusses these women and their dreams in this book, but it’s not in a conventional way. Instead, she gently reminds us that our dreams can change over time. Ten years out of college, these women want and need different things out of life then they did when they were fresh-faced undergraduates. It’s necessary to face your problems and be willing to let them go in order to have the balance in life that you really want.
I really enjoyed Balancing Acts and definitely recommend it to fans of women’s fiction. Charlie, Bess, Sabine, and Naomi (my personal favorite character) are well-written and each of their personalities leap off the page. By the time you finish this book, you’ll feel as if you’ve known them for years.