Somewhere In Between
Review: Karen Watkins
Is there a way for a woman and wife to find a happy balance between a successful career and being a good mum?
This is the conundrum that keeps a Constantia lawyer awake at night.
Born in Namibia, Niki Malherbe studied and practised law, but after the birth of her fourth child she took up a part-time law, lecturing post while raising her family.
In her debut book, From Courtrooms to Cupcakes, published in 2014, she narrates the journey from lawyer to mother. In Somewhere In Between, published in 2018, Niki continues the theme as she balances her time between work and her children.
The book was written at the time of the Oscar Pistorius murder trial, and the legal case threads its way throughout the book. Niki found the evidence made for interesting questions in her lecturing sessions and also for research into another book she was working on about issues of ethics in the legal profession.
Underlying all of this is her enduring passion to write and be published.
After being turned down by numerous publishers, she took the self-publishing route.
Ultimately, Niki finds there is no one-size-fits-all solution to being a working mother.
She writes: “I thought I could write my way to some workable, tangible solutions, but I’m afraid I have not.”
Although she does find that those women at the top of their game are not the ones who want to be stay-at-home mums. Niki’s style is light-hearted while also touching on hard-hitting issues of societal challenges of female discrimination, equal job opportunities and pay deals that women face but aren’t brave enough to talk about, not publically anyway.
For me, I found it difficult to follow the jumble of threads and thoughts running throughout. There was no beginning, middle and end, although the chapter headings provided hints of the journeys her ramblings were taking.
Having said that, Niki writes from the heart in her quest to find a “work-life-balance”, and I’m sure her story will resonate with career women who find themselves in this position.