Any true “Younger” fan out there already knows that season six is coming out soon (June 12) and is counting down the days. For those of you who haven’t watched “Younger,” you’re missing out. This show is pure fun, the perfect comedic drama to distract you from your own office worries and woes. However, the highly-anticipated return of the television show isn’t the only reason fans should be ecstatic. TV Land is working with Simon and Schuster has published a book that was a tornado of upheaval in the previous season, Pauline Turner Brooks’ Marriage Vacation.
Why is this so significant? “Younger” follows Liza Miller, a mother who lies about being half her actual age in order to land a publishing job. As Liza tries to blend in as a younger employee, we are offered a unique look at the ever-evolving practices of a major publishing business to stay afloat. As Liza’s own lies deepen by helping her co-worker Kelsey run an imprint dedicated to younger readers, Millenial, her heart is torn between two illicit relationships. The first with a man of her fake younger age (Josh), the second with a man who is her own age but also happens to be the boss of her company, Charles Brooks.
Charles is estranged from his wife Pauline because she chose to leave her family for a year to write and try to reignite dreams she felt she had neglected for too long. Ultimately Pauline presents her book to Liza, who is impressed with her writing. The book, Marriage Vacation, details Pauline’s experience leaving her family to pursue her own passion for writing for a year, lightly fictionalizing the tale and substituting the names so people do not pry too much into her own affairs. While Pauline fears that others won’t be able to relate to the main character or sympathize with her decisions, Marriage Vacation resounds with Liza. As a divorced mother who had issues pursuing her own vocational dreams, Liza feels the novel explores strong themes and exhibits impressive writing. With these sentiments, she plugs the novel to her company. Taking on Marriage Vacation proves to be messy though.
When Charles finds out that Pauline wrote a novel, one that offers a brutally honest look at their own marriage, he is livid. Contrary to the happy end of the novel where Karl and Kate are still madly in love once they are reunited, Charles feels bitter resentment brewing within him. Instead of renewing their vows in Hawaii as their characters do in the end, he wants to formally separate in a divorce. His magnetic attraction to Liza also helps sever his tie with Pauline. But he can’t deny that the writing is good, and that he would have more power in edits from his own publishing house. So Liza proceeds to edit a book for a woman pining for a man that she is starting to fall hard for.
In the show, Marriage Vacation becomes a smash hit, and is even selected as a Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine Bookclub pick. When I heard that Simon and Schuster was publishing the actual book Marriage Vacation, I was shocked. It was a gift fans of the show never expected to receive but were thrilled to get. The book itself is exactly how any fan would expect given its appearance on “Younger.” The author is even listed as Pauline Turner Brooks, complete with an author biography true to the character. The spine bears the Simon and Schuster logo, but also sports one for Millenial.
The story is interesting because in the show, Pauline discusses how her alter ego Kate leaves her family for a year to write, but does not expand much on where she goes and what happens during that time. In the published work of Marriage Vacation, we follow Pauline as Kate to Thailand where she distances herself from the petty world of materialistic and judgmental stay-at-home mommies by working in a refugee camp and writing in her spare time. In this journey, Kate details how she comes to appreciate her worth in whole new ways.
Physically she is able to appreciate the role her body played in giving birth and nurturing daughters, not for the stretch marks and other defects due to the process. Kate admits, “My postpartum body repulsed me at first. Suddenly I was fiercely proud of it.” She finds new purpose consistently caring for those who have so much less, and even helps edit a documentary to benefit the refugee camp. Kate also concedes that while she wishes Karl supported her dream to write more and pushed her to keep trying, “I know that I am the one who let those parts of me slip away.”
We also are treated to flashbacks on Kate and Karl’s relationship, allowing deeper insight to Pauline and Charles’ relationship on the show. You’ll find the saucy details you were craving on the show–read page 58 people (it’s not as much what happens but where)! This book truly adds a whole new dynamic to enjoying the show, though anyone who does not watch the show will still enjoy a wonderfully crafted story. Kate is a driven woman who takes charge of her own self-fulfillment, a character many women will find genuine and inspiring.
Marriage Vacation is available for purchase.
ABOUT PAULINE TURNER BROOKS:
Pauline Turner Brooks is a graduate of the MFA program at Columbia University. She is married to Charles Brooks, and they have two children. Marriage Vacation is her first novel.