Sunday, February 10

Book Review: The Age of Hope

Title: The Age of Hope

Author: David Bergen

Pages: EBook 184

Summary: Born in 1930 in a small town outside Winnipeg, beautiful Hope Koop appears destined to have a conventional life. Church, marriage to a steady young man, children- her fortunes are already laid out for her, as are the shiny modern appliances in her new home. All she has to do is stay with Roy, who loves her. But as the decades unfold, what seems to be a safe, predictable existence overwhelms Hope. Where- among the demands of her children, the expectations of her husband and the challenges of her best friend, Emily, who has just read The Feminine Mystique- is there room for her? And just who is she anyway? A wife, a mother, a woman whose life is somehow unrealized?

This beautifully crafted and perceptive work of fiction spans some fifty years of Hope Koop’ s life in the second half of the 20th century, from traditionalism to feminism and beyond. David Bergen has created an indelible portrait of a seemingly ordinary woman who struggles to accept herself as she is, and in so doing becomes unique.

My Rating: 6.25/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: There were times I enjoyed the book, but for the most part, I found it a hard book to get through. As I found it almost impossible to connect to Hope, and enjoy her story.

Because this was a character driven story, liking the main character, Hope, is pretty much a must to enjoy the book. And I didn't care for her at all. There were times the author examined some important issues, such as depression/post-partum depression and he did do a good job at showing how it affected Hope, but I felt Hope's character was missing something, and even felt wooden at times. Despite the fact she goes on an emotional journey and a bit of an examination of the self, but I never got that feel from her. A lot of issues of womanhood, motherhood, and being a wife, and the emotional and psychological effects of identifying with those were also addressed, and they were an important part of the story and an important part of who Hope's character was. In the beginning I enjoyed that the story was focusing on this, which was what kept me reading, but I felt that it just missed the mark on what the book was trying to show.

In the end, it was worth reading, but it was also a bit of a letdown.

Would I recommend it to read: Another book I'm on the fence about. It had some good qualities, but some not so good, and out all the Canada Reads books, not sure if it would be high on my recommendation list.

What to read next: The other 2013 Canada Reads Contenders, Away, February, Two Solitudes, Indian Horse.

Challenges: 100 Book Challenge, 2013 Category Challenge, Canadian Book Challenge VI, EBook Challenge, Mental Health Awareness Challenge, New Author Challenge, Read-a-latte Challenge


  1. I was surprised at myself for enjoying The Age of Hope. I didn't love it, but I felt a connection to Hope. Still, it's a book I probably wouldn't recommend to many people. I can understand why people wouldn't like it. I did like Ron Maclean's defense of it though!

    1. Yes! Ron MacLean did an excellent job at it, especially highlighting the themes and struggles of depression. I wish he joked around less, but he did the book justice.