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Calling Invisible Women: A Novel Hardcover – May 22, 2012

3.8 out of 5 stars 245 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

A former reporter turned full-time doctor’s wife and mother of two adult children, Clover Hobart had pretty much made her peace with the fact that her wow factor had been turned down a few notches. Nothing, however, prepared her for the shock of waking up one morning to discover that she was invisible—full-blown, H.G. Wells, science-fiction invisible. Trouble is, nobody noticed. Talk about adding insult to injury. Luckily, Clover sees an ad inviting invisible women to meet at the local Sheraton, and suddenly she’s thrust into an amorphous support group who determine that their common denominator is a postmenopausal cocktail of hormone replacement, bone loss, and antianxiety medications. Wearing their newfound invisibility like a shield of invincibility, Clover and company tackle the drug company responsible for this travesty and in the process begin repairing relationships that might have helped them disappear in the first place. Women of a certain age will devour Ray’s sly satire on the perils of big pharma, middle age, and the unseen consequences of living the quiet life. --Carol Haggas

Review

“Witty and thought-provoking, Invisible Women will call out to any female who’s ever been made to feel invisible by virtue of her age, her gender, or both.”  –People (3 ½ stars)

“In a story both whimsical and significant, Jeanne Ray addresses an all-too-familiar fate that many women seem to suffer as they grow older…. Heartfelt, inspirational and uplifting, Calling Invisible Women calls out to readers with a passionate and important message. This book is clearly one that deserves to be noticed.” –BookPage

“In her satirical tale of a woman trying to find herself, Ray, the mother of novelist Ann Patchett, offers a commentary about what it’s like for women to grow older.” –New York Post, Required Reading

“Jeanne Ray’s newest novel, Calling Invisible Women, tells the humorous, touching story of how Clover reclaims her sense of self. Stripping off her clothes to go undetected, she becomes a sort of superhero: punishing bullies on the school bus, halting bank robberies, preventing her son from getting a tattoo—not to mention reigniting her career as an investigative journalist. Invisibility is hardly a subtle metaphor. But Ray argues persuasively that going undercover has its benefits.” –O, The Oprah Magazine (Summer Pick), Abbe Wright

“This is a perfectly fabulous read that speaks volumes about society’s lack of awareness of middle-aged women. Read it as fast as you can, before it disappears before your eyes.” –Library Journal, starred review

“The heroine of bestselling novelist Jeanne Ray's Calling Invisible Women bands together with other invisible women in her town to fight back, gaining a new view of her town, her loved ones and herself… Ray, who didn't start writing novels until she was 60 - inspired partly by the urge to show that people "of a certain age" had as much fun and delight in their lives as younger folk - said a liking on her part for people with superpowers, like invisibility, gave the book its driving impetus… Julie and Romeo, the story of two people over 60 who find new romance - and the first of six novels, many of which center on women in their 50s and 60s and have led Ray to be dubbed "the mother of senior literature," a title she says she finds hilarious. While still in the draft stage, Ray received advice on her first book from her daughter, award-winning novelist Ann Patchett, who has written Bel Canto and other books.” —Reuters

“Every homemaker who feels she's taken for granted should open Calling Invisible Women and meet Clover Hobart, who looks in the bathroom mirror one day and realizes that not only does she feel invisible, she is invisible…. Fans of Jeanne Ray know that (as with her 2003 debut Julie and Romeo) we'll come to feel that we know Clover and sympathize with her plight. It's readers' good fortune that Ray brings her light, smart touch to this comic take on women of a certain age who feel they've disappeared. A comic tale of a middle-aged woman whose family doesn't notice her--even when she actually disappears.” –Shelf Awareness

“The characters in this fast, fun read are empowered and proactive.” –Publishers Weekly

“Women of a certain age will devour Ray’s sly satire on the perils of big pharma, middle age, and the unseen consequences of living the quiet life.” –Booklist

“Offers a lot of witty charm.” –Kirkus

“Jeanne Ray is truly wise and funny about family, friendship, and love—about the ways in which we see (and don’t see) each other.  Calling Invisible Women is an utter delight.” –Hilma Wolitzer
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Crown; First Edition edition (May 22, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307395057
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307395054
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (245 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #985,168 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I REALLY enjoyed this novel! The story follows Clover Hobart, mother of two and wife of a very successful pediatrician. She unknowingly takes a mixture of medications that turn her invisible yet her family, so caught up in their own problems, don't realize their mother and wife isn't as she used to be. As long as the clothes get washed and dinner is cooked, no one realizes that she's invisible. Through her invisibility, she realizes that she can do a lot of good, from disciplining school children to thwarting a bank robbery, Clover realizes that there are good things that can come from being invisible.

What I Liked: That this story was silly and lighthearted yet describes how many women feel. The shenanigans Clover and her friends get into are pretty darn hilarious. At times you want to throttle her kids and her husband yet they are so lovable that you almost want to forgive them their wrapped-uppedness and total blindness to her condition.

What I Didn't Like: The novel was fun and totally outrageous with naked women walking around town. I loved it! No dislikes from my corner ^_^

I received this novel from the Goodreads giveaway page. A really fun, imaginative novel!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When I pre-ordered "Calling Invisible Women" some six months ago, I didn't know I was pre-ordering my own birthday gift. It arrived yesterday and I finished it today, which is, coincidentally, my 54th birthday. I take great delight in the fact that, as of today, I am the exact same age as Clover Hobart, the invisible protagonist of this charming new novel by Jeanne Ray. And as birthday gifts go, I couldn't have planned this one better. It's worth noting that though I'm a voracious reader, I don't usually pre-order books - at least not intentionally. (I've done it by accident once or twice.) But I did it on purpose this time, long before I had a clue what the book was about. That's because I trust Jeanne Ray. I will read anything she writes and I've been waiting - some might say "impatiently" - for her next book. In fact, several years ago, I MAY have made some haphazard attempts to locate an address with the vague intention of asking Ms. Ray if she's still writing and, if she said no, harassing her out of retirement. I would have been polite but firm about it because I need Jeanne Ray or, rather, her books. I use them the way other women use chocolate, or Prozac. She's my Go-To author when I'm having a bad day or a bad week, when I'm fighting cynicism or the flu and, especially, when I'm feeling invisible. For ten years I have been reading, rereading, lending and recommending Ms. Ray's books to my sisters and friends. Her books have seen us through divorces, hysterectomies, menopause (and its evil younger sister, perimenopause), professional disasters and reinventions, and the particular joys and tribulations of adult children who keep moving back into their old rooms - or never seem to leave them (a condition with which Ms. Ray's protagonists are often familiar).Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
Clover Hobart is shocked to find herself suddenly becoming invisible. She is even more shocked to realize that no one in her family notices! This raises several questions - why is this happening to her and when did her family start taking her for granted to a whole new level?

While trying to deal with her new situation she comes upon a notice in the newspaper "Calling Invisible Women. Downtown Sheraton Wednesday at 10AM. Bring a kleenex." At this meeting, she not only discovers that she's one of many women who has become invisible but also what has caused it. The descriptions of the meetings are hilarious and how they communicate is clever to say the least.

This unique book is filled with clever situations and unforgettable characters. From her invisible friends to her unemployed (but living at home) son and self-centered daughter to Vlad (her daughters boyfriend) who provides much needed guidance, there are no dull moments. And how Clover uses her "problem" to do good is great fun.

If you enjoy this book (and you will), be sure to check out Jeanne Ray's earlier books. They are all very special.
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Format: Hardcover
Another smart, funny book by Jeanne Ray. She takes am interesting premise and then twists and turns to a satisfying conclusion. I usually like reading before going to sleep, and this book was not helpful for nodding off: I found myself thinking, "What is she going to do next?" and then of course had to keep reading.

What I particularly like is how the book works on a metaphorical level -- not so much about the invisibility angle, as in the ill-health angle. When Clover first became invisible, she didn't quite believe it, and needed confirmation from those around her that she wasn't altogether right anymore. Then she felt guilty, as though it must have been something she'd done to herself. Not until she found others in the same shoes could she clarify her beliefs and action plan. I wonder how many women with various "syndromes" (chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, RA) will identify this process, and come to similar conclusions as Clover: she is not her illness, and she is still "here".
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