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Fifty Is Not a Four-letter Word Hardcover – Import, November 1, 2007
All Books, All the Time
Read author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more at the Amazon Book Review. Read it now
Hope Lyndhurst-Steele has it all—a wonderful, loving husband; a great son; a job she loves as a magazine editor; and a lovely house in London. After her much-dreaded fiftieth birthday, everything she has come to rely on disappears. She is dismissed from her job and replaced with a younger, smarmier editor; her 18-year-old son starts dating the single mother down the street; and her husband leaves her. No wonder Hope is in a funk. And there is worse news on the horizon. Her mother announces at dinner that she is dying. How we cope with adversity offers great insight into people. Hope’s method is sleep, food, and huge doses of self-pity until she starts to wake up and realize that her life is not over, and that just maybe being 50 is the right place for her to be. Kelsey, a magazine editor herself, creates a witty foray into one woman’s psyche as she accepts her age and proves that there is, indeed, life and adventure after the 50-year milestone. --Patty Engelmann
"Kelsey, a magazine editor herself, creates a witty foray into one woman's psyche as she accepts her age and proves that there is, indeed, life and adventure after the 50-year milestone." (Booklist Patty Engelmann 2009-01-00)
"A first novel that offers a uniquely British twist on the erosion of a middle-aged woman's confidence . . . Hope's candid, sardonic voice and the author's biting wit elevate the book." (Kirkus 2009-01-00)
Top customer reviews
First of all, this is not really chick lit - which kind of disappointed me right off the bat. This is my mistake since I obviously did not read the book description. Having said that, however, and once I got over the whole 'darn, this is not a chick lit' thing - I did sit down and read through the book.
This book is extremely well-written. Author Kelsey has a keen way of developing and growing her characters and is very good at positioning in a way that tells us that these people are all flawed, yet we find ourselves liking them despite these flaws. The strength in this book is definitely the strongly written characters and their development.
The storyline, however, is both typical and full of angst - which kind of made this book more difficult for me to enjoy. Hope, our main character seems to be dealing with too many things at once and although this may be reflecting reality somewhat, I was hoping to read a little more uplifting storyline, one where the main character enjoyed 'smelling the roses' a little bit and was not so angst ridden.
I did enjoy this book so I rated it 3 stars.
If you have been in the character Hope's position - dislike your mother, don't appreciate your husband, your offspring is getting on your nerves but you can't bear to think of him backpacking, your last decade's work has been dismissed by a boss who replaced you with a gay editor who focuses on stain removal, keep falling out with your one friend, everyone else is too busy working to chat, nobody needs you, your face looks old, you're putting on weight - you'll identify so much that you'll be thrilled to read about Hope's year of living off her redundancy and considering sleeping with attractive strangers.
Otherwise, you'll be wondering if even the author realised how totally self-absorbed, petty-obsessed and selfish Hope has been and still is, you'll be fully supportive of the husband who leaves her and you'll think the best thing she does all year is get a Labrador pup and get in training for a charity walk in the Atlas Mountains.
I'd like this better if it were funnier. Marian Keyes has produced a funnier book about a magazine editor, Sushi For Beginners. Still, there is plenty going on and we see positive outcomes.
I didn't laugh but I smiled a bit and nodded my head in recognition at times. Losing a job, a husband, a son, a mother, and a friend (although not all at once) triggers a mid-life crisis as our heroine Hope turns 50. There are lots of surprises and ironies in this book. I like the fact that it isn't one of those mean, vindictive stories where revenge becomes the main theme. Hope is alternately angry, sad, frustrated, and guilt-ridden, but her feelings don't give rise to terrible actions and understanding comes from taking her mind off herself and learning about some of the people passing through her life.
Hope learns about conquering illness, achieving fitness (culminating in an amazing hike), loving an animal, and nurturing herself in her empty nest. I think Hope learns that whether she is married or single she is capable of enjoying life, that letting go of her son helps their relationship, and that she has decisions to make when it comes to work and what will satisfy her needs. Her name is appropos because we are left with the hope that whatever she does Hope will prevail.