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Reviewed by Gisela Dixon for Readers' Favorite
Alternate Endings by N.E. Lasater is a fiction novel set around an average woman’s life. The beauty of Alternate Endings lies in the fact that, although it is the story of an ordinary woman set in contemporary times, it is at the same time the story of women from time immemorial who, when faced with choices, are conditioned to put others first. Alternate Endings starts off with an introduction to Calyce, a woman trying to juggle life with multiple responsibilities. We also meet Catherine in bits and pieces throughout the book, who is a woman in similar circumstances in life. Both of these women have elderly mothers who need to be cared for and are their responsibility in a certain sense. At the same time, we also learn about Calyce’s son who is in need of support from her too. How Calyce and Catherine cope with their lives with the daily round of chores, responsibilities, caring for others, and how and if they make time for themselves form the plot of the novel.
Alternate Endings is a very thought-provoking book. The idea of women being meant to exist first and foremost to nurture and take care of others is the state of society throughout the world even today. This is true, even in the most socially so-called progressive or developed nations of the world. It is almost unthinkable to think of a woman pursuing her own dreams and ambitions unapologetically and without judgement from others in the same way men have enjoyed this privilege. Women who follow their own off-beat path are still condemned and judged, unlike men. Calyce’s life path and decisions show women that it is their right to live life as they see fit and, hopefully, a book like this helps to create awareness in society to be non-judgmental. Good writing and a great plot make this a very worthwhile read.