The 2011 novel "Escape" by Barbara Delinsky is an inspirational holiday read for lawyers - and other driven professionals.
That's because the main character Emmy and her husband, both lawyers, find their way out of BigLaw career paths to more satisfying ways to practice law. What drives them to figure that one out is their determination to restore their marriage. Thrown into the plot line is even a refuge for abused animals - a nice bit of symbolism.
The story, set when most reasonable lawyers would be grateful to have any job in law, could have been cliche-ridden. In New York City, Emmy and James are both on the partner track in BigLaw. With no time for even for themselves, never mind for each other, they are drfiting apart.
Then one Friday morning, Emmy walks away from that whole scene to the small New Hampshire town where she left unfinished business. Her boss, parents, sister, and husband are stunned. They assume that their dream of what her life should be should also be hers.
Eventually, James tracks her down and does what it takes to re-invent the marriage. But he continues to work like a madman. The epiphany comes through an email to him. The firm says because of budget reasons no partners will be made that year. However, continue working hard and maybe next year things will be different.
Both agree they still love the law. However, they land on their feet, unlike so many other lawyers, in finding legal work which meets their emotional and spiritual needs.
How did this happen? The message of the book is that they found refuge by reaching out and helping others. When they were inward-focused on their own problems, they remained stuck.