One Day I Shall Astonish the World

Little, Brown. May 2022. 288p. ISBN 9780316430340. $27. F
Stibbe (Reasons To Be Cheerful) chronicles the 30-year friendship between Susan and Norma. Divided into three parts—friendship, work, and marriage—the story of their connection ebbs and flows in direct correlation to the success of their personal lives. When Susan aims to better herself or her career, Norma can be counted on to discourage her. When Norma disappears for regular intervals, traveling or falling in love with someone new, Susan steps up to cover her responsibilities. Throughout the decades of conversations about men, children, and sex, the division of power in their relationship remains uneven. It is Susan who begins to realize, as she matures, that she may never have really known Norma at all. When tensions convene at the women’s main battleground, the college where they both work (whose motto is the same as the book’s title), it is Susan’s tenacity and humor that ultimately win the day, changing their dynamic once again.
VERDICT Stibbe skillfully captures the humor that comes with everyday defeat, and the friendship of Susan and Norma will ring true for many women.
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