Expectation, Anna Hope
Cruel, clever and a brilliant read, Expectation by Anna Hope skewers the deepest fear of people aged from their mid-thirties onwards: “Is this it?” It’s a tender story of female friendship and growing up – the real growing up that happens in your twenties and thirties – and should become a modern classic. I read it in two days.
Hope’s three female protagonists are on the younger end of mid-life crisis territory, but they have graduated the long summers of languishing on London Fields with wine picnics, and the years of shared-house bonding. Now they are in the parenting, attempted parenting, moving to the sticks and giving up on career dreams stage of life. Each grasps for support and wants to love the other, but it’s hard to hold friends close when lives diverge so acutely.
Hope’s characters are Millennials really, if a little older, but drawn without any of the self-entitlement that group is known for. She gets up close with them without drifting into judgement, which can’t have been easy given they are obviously her own generation. She must have known all of them, and be all of them.
I’m writing this on day one of week two of the Coronavirus lockdown. It’s quite a different perspective to consider “is this it?” from than the outlook last month, as I ‘prepared’ to turn 40. I’m quite certain now that this isn’t it. But I’ve no idea what is.