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Lauren Takes Leave

By Julie Gerstenblatt

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LAUREN TAKES LEAVE is a woman’s sometimes poignant and touching, but mostly light and funny, romp with total freedom.

Forty-year-old Lauren Worthing has the opportunity to catch up on some personal time when she is summoned for jury duty and the case is settled on the second day.

Rather than return to her life as a wife, mother and middle school teacher, she pretends that she is still on duty, and embarks on some quality time with girl friends.

In this humorous tale, the protagonist is overwhelmed and under-appreciated by her husband, two children and job. After an amusing and guilt-ridden battle with her conscience, Lauren decides not inform her husband and work about jury duty ending. Instead, she notifies her friends, Jodi and Kat and the three of them embark on some outlandish antics that involve pole dancing that leads to injuring the hostess, experimenting with a multi-feature toilet seat, bar hopping, a day trip to Boston, dangerous flirtation online and in real time to name a just few of the sometimes riotous activities.

Lauren’s hectic life makes her decision to ditch the family and work understandable and entertaining for first part of the book, but towards the middle of the book she becomes less of a sympathetic character as her activities become overly self-indulgent and reminiscent of a college party scene. What saves Lauren’s antics from being overly tedious during her prolonged revelry are the poignant glimmers of truths and reality that cross her mind, for example: “I craved the spark that Doug and I misplaced long ago.” Her final shameful realization and guilt also are in part both touching and redeeming of her character.  The theme of friendship, and especially girl-friendship are evident in the tight bond between Lauren and her friends shines through, as they support one another through it all.

Though the plot becomes a little excessive and drawn out in parts of the book, the narrative is concise to convey Lauren’s busy life and fast flowing stream of consciousness. Generally, the protagonist is funny and likeable and will be no doubt be extremely appealing to those who are fans of the Desperate Housewives show and the spunky, bordering-on-reality/fantasy larger than life characters.

LAUREN ON LEAVE is a woman’s sometimes poignant and touching, but mostly light and funny, romp with total freedom.

Reviewed by Maya Fleischmann for IndieReader

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