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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Thursday Spotlight: Elise Chidley

Is Your Roots Are Showing Autobiographical?

No, I’ve never sent an incriminating email to the wrong person by mistake, I didn’t suffer from post-partum depression, and I’ve never had a major marital crisis. (Rider: I’ve sent my fair share of innocent emails to the wrong person, I did suffer the usual bout of baby blues, and my husband and I regularly squabble.)

But I think that many women with young children can relate to Lizzie’s state of mind when James leaves her. It's quite common for new mothers to feel exhausted, overwhelmed, and a bit resentful towards their husbands whose lives don't seem to be that affected by the baby. A loss of intimacy and romance at this stage of a relationship isn't unusual.

In many cases, women who give up their careers in order to have children feel a sense of loss, of not quite knowing how to define themselves any more, of needing to exist beyond their role as wife and mother. The interesting part of the story for me was seeing Lizzie recover her sense of self and her dignity. She does this by taking up running, losing weight, and finding a creative outlet. One on-line review called this a novel about 'girl power.'

I tried to tell the story with enough humor to make it entertaining, but I hope readers will also feel uplifted and inspired by Lizzie’s journey of self discovery. So much women’s fiction is about the Cinderella-type happy ending: the heroine marries her prince and the curtain goes down. I wanted to take a look at what happens after that.

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