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Mad Dash    by Patricia Gaffney order for
Mad Dash
by Patricia Gaffney
Order:  USA  Can
Shaye Areheart, 2007 (2007)
Hardcover, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Daninhirsch

A novel simultaneously heartbreaking and funny, Mad Dash is the story of a marriage. Dash, short for Dorothy (because she did not like the nickname Dot), is having a marital crisis. She and her husband have been married for two decades and have a grown daughter. Dash has a thriving photography business, while Andrew busies himself as assistant professor at a small college.

Dash and Andrew could not be more different: while Dash is free-spirited and outgoing, Andrew is bound by old habits and is introverted; while Dash is working toward her career goal, Andrew is afraid to accept an opportunity to become the head of the history department. Dash is also grieving the recent loss of her beloved mother and has become an empty-nester since her daughter has left for college.

After a minor spat, Dash impulsively moves out of the house to the family cottage in a remote location. With alternating perspectives, the two are forced to examine their marriage and what they want for the second half of their lives. Both Dash and Andrew are in for the greatest test of their marriage when each of them has an opportunity to turn to another for comfort. 

Gaffney is a skilled writer - she turned what could have been chick lit into something much richer and more authentic. The book is infused with just the right amount of humor but it tugs at the heartstrings as well. Ultimately, Mad Dash is about reinventing yourself while at the same time finding yourself, and it is about returning to the past without giving up hope for the future. I hope that women's book clubs will soon discover this insightful and absorbing novel.

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