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Where's Ours? Paperback – September, 1987

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Marcia, 30, is dissatisfied with her job analyzing real-estate loans for a Chicago bank, particularly because her male co-workers often make off with the plum assignments. Marcia's equally disgruntled husband, Hodgekins "Gin" Bernthal III, teaches English at a Catholic high school for boys and is eager to step into the vice-principal's job, which he was promised when hired. When Gin inquires about the position, he is sacked, and Marcia must support him. Their marriage suffers, especially when Marcia lands a job with a high-powered real-estate firm. Eventually, Gin's career gets back on track, and he and Marcia learn to balance financial gain with domestic bliss. McKelvy, author of Pension Fund Investments in Real Estate, makes some cute jokes in this first novel, but her liberal use of realty jargon disrupts the story. Her prose is tame ("Oh drat," Marcia says), cliched ("Gin's ambition seemed to be dying; he was like a deflated balloon") and ultimately disappoints.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 279 pages
  • Publisher: Academy Chicago Pub (September 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0897332776
  • ISBN-13: 978-0897332774
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,480,454 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Edward K. Garrison on August 19, 2001
Format: Paperback
Like the leisure suits, Harvey Wallbangers, and bunny clubs that preceded it, the "yuppie" culture of the '80s quickly became an object of ridicule once its time had passed. Because it's set in that culture, Natalie McKelvy's WHERE'S OURS? might easily be overlooked or dismissed.
It shouldn't be. The book pays only passing attention to the Rolex watches, BMWs, and big houses with big mortgages that were, after all, only enjoyed by a minority. Instead, in a refreshing departure from the stereotypes of upward mobility and conspicuous consumption, WHERE'S OURS? deals with a less publicized, but more commonly experienced, phenomenon of the time: downward mobility, especially vis-à-vis the previous generation.
Consider the plight of the majority of Baby Boomers: Having grown up during an economic upswing that started after the Second World War and continued essentially unabated for decades afterward, Boomers naturally took ever-increasing prosperity for granted. But just when they were leaving home to make it on their own, the oil crises and other economic woes of the late '70s brought the good times to an abrupt end. Few Boomers were prepared to live modestly, work and compete hard, and expect uncertain rewards only after years of struggle, as their Depression-era parents had. It was a way of life they'd never seen.
I know of no other book that captures this experience the way WHERE'S OURS? does. Its main characters, a young teacher named Gin who expects an assistant-principalship but gets fired instead, and his wife Marcia, a banker on a much slower track than she'd hoped for, struggle with their fate--and with their uncertainties regarding changing views of marriage, family, and career.
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