These Days Are Ours

By – February 27, 2012

Just months after 9/11, New York is still reel­ing and on the brink of uncer­tain­ty. Hai­ley is a 22-year old Boston Uni­ver­si­ty grad­u­ate who has returned home to the Fifth Avenue pent­house in which she was raised, but for Hai­ley it’s true that you can nev­er real­ly go home. 

Raised on the Upper East Side in a sec­u­lar Jew­ish house­hold, Hai­ley now wish­es she could be part of anoth­er family’s Passover Seder. Hai­ley has a moth­er she longs to be clos­er to, a father who can’t seem to process their divorce, and a broth­er in Mia­mi with whom she’s lost touch. Liv­ing in the new­ly remod­eled con­do now shared by her moth­er and step­fa­ther, both Condé Nast exec­u­tives, Hai­ley is insis­tent on not tak­ing advan­tage of her fam­i­ly con­nec­tions. She half-heart­ed­ly tries to find a job, but ends up fill­ing her days nurs­ing hang­overs and fan­ta­siz­ing about a future with long time love inter­est Michael Bren­ner. Total­ly ambiva­lent about the future, Hai­ley tells a friend, The thing that would be awe­some about get­ting blown up by ter­ror­ists is that every­one would think we had all this unre­al­ized potential.”

What ulti­mate­ly saves Haimof­f’s pro­tag­o­nist from becom­ing just anoth­er poor lit­tle rich girl is Hailey’s spot-on and sar­don­ic sense of humor. Despite her cor­ro­sive atti­tude and lack of focus, read­ers will find them­selves root­ing for Hai­ley and lament­ing her hur­dles. The strength of her obser­va­tions on Man­hat­tan in the wake of 9/11 and on a gen­er­a­tion at the precipice of an eco­nom­ic reces­sion will ring true for the mil­len­ni­al gen­er­a­tion. In the end, Haimoff’s Hai­ley may just prove an apt hero­ine for a new age. 

Read Michelle’s Posts for the Vis­it­ing Scribe

What the Kids are Doing With Their Lives

The Unlike­ly In-Laws

Find­ing My Religion

Hei­di Sax is a mar­ket­ing pro­fes­sion­al, spe­cial­iz­ing in the fash­ion indus­try. Orig­i­nal­ly from the Chica­go area, Hei­di has a Bach­e­lor’s Degree in Eng­lish from Emory Uni­ver­si­ty and resides in New York City.

Discussion Questions

What do you think the rules and tra­di­tions are for mod­ern-day Amer­i­can Jews, both for these char­ac­ters and in real life? 
In the Unit­ed States is Judaism a reli­gion or an ethnicity? 

Do you think the gen­er­a­tion of Jews in the book is mov­ing clos­er to Judaism or drift­ing far­ther away? 

Do Hai­ley’s Jew­ish friends iden­ti­fy as Jews? Do yours? 

Does the per­fect-on-paper Jew­ish spouse exist? 

Are there unique­ly Jew­ish expec­ta­tions to suc­ceed? How is suc­cess defined? Does that pres­sure make it eas­i­er or hard­er to actu­al­ly succeed?