The book is centered upon a couple that move from New York to Washington D.C due to the husband's career based in politics. Upon getting there, the wife, who is a writer and was laid off in NY, finds it difficult to get a job and hates everything about D.C. Till she meets another transplant couple, Ash and Jimmy and things get a little brighter but also marks the beginning of a weird co-dependent friendship. The book touches heavily on D.C life and describes it as rife with jealousy, fake, gossipy and full of society climbers.
It's told from the perspective of Beth (the wife) and she takes us through her life of meeting her husband, Matt to when things take a turn. Some topics that came up that resonated with me:
- Why do people really get married? Does it matter what age? Sometimes people are honest with their spouses on what they would like or what they believe in and sometimes the other party doesn't pay attention or take it seriously. The whole "opposites attract" thing - is that helpful or harmful in a relationship?
- Matt was just one of those positive guys and saw the move as a start of something new while Beth chose to just wallow in her D.C hate. This is an example of how attitude can help or hurt a situation
- In-laws - you gotta pray to God you get good ones
- Parents are oh so significant in shaping your life knowingly and unknowingly. I mean once you describe your first born as "the first pancake is never good and is the one you throw out", where do you go from there?
- Jealousy/Envy grows between characters in the book and at some point Beth thinks "The Dillons are just so lucky, so charmed. Everything is working out for them, life is unfolding exactly as it should - and most of the time, it seems like it is all happening without any effort on their part" - Where does one draw the line between being a bad person for being envious or just being a human being feeling normal emotions for being envious?
- Sometimes, charmed on the outside and people who try to put up a "all is well" front might be dealing with major stuff internally and that's their way of dealing
- Among 2 characters, one clearly had all the ingredients but was less successful. The one thing the other person had was charisma, which gave him an edge especially in his career. It was a reminder that sometimes life isn't what humans call "fair"
- At the end of the day, your Day 1 friends can't compete with new ones. They know you in a way that can't be duplicated bu new ones.
- Having a child does change everything
- Sometimes, you just peer into a friendship and you just know its the beginning of the end or just feel like did I ever know this person?
- While I thought Beth was introspective. When I finished the book, I was perusing reviews on Goodreads (not a lot of people loved this book as much as I did) and they really didn't like Beth, they thought she was too passive. I only thought she was passive when it came to getting a job but it reminded me of a quote someone said to her in the book "You're always letting things happen to you. You just wait to react. Do Something" That's good life advise to everyone.
- How do you react as your spouse drifts away from you? Matt gets more and more passionate about his career while Beth is just chilling. As we get older, we get new interests and probably change. How do you deal with the change?
There were probably more points in the book but I will stop here. Not even sure why this book was called The Hopefuls sef. But if you have read or plan to read it, I would love to hear your thoughts on it.