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The Comeback: Seven Stories of Women Who Went from Career to Family and Back Againby Emma Gilbey Keller
Synopses & Reviews
A must-read for all women juggling career and family: an inspiring book that argues that women can have it all—just not all at once.
Weve all heard the chatter in magazines and on television about off-ramps and on-ramps, decreased earning power, increased competition, too much readjustment, too little flexibility, no jobs, no hope—nothing to look forward to. Women are used to being told that once we get off the career track, we can't get back on. In The Comeback, Emma Gilbey Keller proves that this isnt true: More and more, companies today are looking at the value of hiring returning mothers. In this encouraging book, Keller tells the stories of seven very different women who sought to strike a balance between demanding careers and budding families. With all of them there came a moment—unplanned—when they decided to give up work and become full-time mothers. Then, some time later, each of them decided it was time to start thinking about going back. Their stories are complicated, filled with the choices, decisions and trade-offs that all mothers face. Each ended up with some version of the balance that we all strive for as we juggle work and families. Achieving this balance always takes effort, frustration, and give-and-take, but in the end anyone can do it.
An absorbing blend of story, insight, advice, and inspiration, The Comeback offers a positive message to mothers overwhelmed by the ever-shifting work versus home debate.
"Keller (Lady: The Life and Times of Winnie Mandela) recounts the professional and personal identity crisis she suffered after full-time motherhood estranged her from her former career as a successful writer and left her in the shadow of her husband — New York Times executive editor Bill Keller. Drawing upon her own experience and discomfort in being 'Mrs. New York Times,' the author chronicles the challenges facing seven other women in diverse professions — law, business, photography, teaching — launching their own career comebacks after devoting themselves exclusively to their children. Keller's profiles are warm, laudatory, refreshingly nonjudgmental — she honors both working and stay-at-home moms — and relentlessly honest in depicting the low confidence that paralyzes women eager to rejoin the workplace. Although Keller occasionally burdens her tales with excessive — and bland — biographical detail, her character and career sketches do shed insight into how women have rediscovered their professional identities through sheer perseverance. Women contemplating their own re-entries into their careers or into new professions will relish this book for its frankness, encouragement and practical direction. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Missing from the last decade's worth of books about motherhood and work — whether denouncing women for having children too early or too late, for working too much or too little — has been the fact that most women with children change or redefine their careers as their children are born and grow. Unlike the straight and logical career path we may have imagined for ourselves as children, the road most... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review) mothers walk is crooked and nonlinear. For the women profiled in Emma Gilbey Keller's "The Comeback," the journey from career to children and back to work again involved just such meanderings. Keller, wife of New York Times executive editor Bill Keller, is a journalist and author of a biography of Winnie Mandela; she is also the mother of two daughters. For her new book, she talked with seven women from diverse fields — a doctor, a furniture designer, an occupational therapist among them — and chronicles how each first left the world of paid work, then came back. Although every woman has her own story, all returned to the working world fundamentally changed, and each in turn made changes: She shifted her career's focus or entered an entirely new field; she lobbied for and won an agreement to job-share or work part-time; she chose a new job for its easy commute or child-friendly environment. These working women need the intellectual challenges that motherhood alone can't supply, yet they can never go back to "just" working as they did before babies (and as most fathers seem remarkably able to do, year after year, feminist wave after feminist wave). They bring with them a new skill set honed by years of playgroups and preschools — as Keller writes, "telling mothers to network is a bit like telling them to breathe" — a crucial insight all too often forgotten by women who find themselves worried about resume gaps. Still, "The Comeback" speaks of, and to, a subset of women who have so benefited from feminism that they can afford to be agonized by an array of choices. The women Keller describes, who can (mostly) afford not to work at all, face crises of confidence, but they do not face starvation if they choose to return to work a bit later than originally planned. Keller offers a compelling set of individual solutions to a common problem; one of these days, though, it would be interesting to hear about schemes hatched by women without top-notch academic degrees and well-placed friends. Kate Tuttle is a writer and editor. Reviewed by Kate Tuttle, Washington Post Book World (Copyright 2006 Washington Post Book World Service/Washington Post Writers Group)
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“For mothers contemplating a return to the work force after years spent raising children, Emma Gilbey Keller has good news: if the women she profiles in her new book can do it, so can you.”—New York Times Book Review
Its a tough economy for job-seekers, and it can be even more nerve-racking for women trying to juggle career and family. Women are used to being told that once we get off the career track, we cant get back on. In The Comeback, Emma Gilbey Keller proves that this isnt true: More and more, companies today are looking at the value of hiring returning mothers. In this encouraging book, Keller tells the stories of seven very different women from a variety of professions who sought to strike a balance between demanding careers and budding families. A new afterword looks at the personal balancing act of First Lady Michelle Obama. All of these women have complicated stories, filled with the choices, decisions, and trade-offs that all mothers face.
An absorbing blend of story, insight, advice, and inspiration, The Comeback offers a positive message to mothers overwhelmed by the ever-shifting work-versus-home debate.
About the Author
Emma Gilbey Keller is the author of The Lady: The Life and Times of Winnie Mandela. She has written for the London Sunday Times, the London Daily Telegraph, the Guardian, Marie Claire, More, Vanity Fair, and Tatler, among others. She grew up in England and lives in New York City with her husband Bill Keller, the executive editor of the New York Times, and their two children.
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