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Single Woman of a Certain Age: 29 Women Writers on the Unmarried Midlife--Romantic Escapades, Empty Nests, Shifting Shapes, and Serene Independence Hardcover – September 29, 2005
From Publishers Weekly
If there is a best way to safely traverse the treacherous waters of a single midlife, none of the 28 writers who contributed to Ganahl's collection has found it. Of the five thematic sections (dating, giving up myths, personal growth, independence and children), the funniest collects dating stories, including Ellie Slott Fisher's concerns about her love life affecting her children: "A cool mom is one thing, but a red-hot mama is utterly disturbing." Wendy Merrill, whose family describes her dating history as "Wendy's catch-and-release program," dryly notes, "Whatever I have contempt for, I should set a place for it at my table, because it's either already in my life or it's coming." (In her case, alcoholism, eating disorders and being a "serial mater.") Possibly the best-known contributor is Merrill Markoe, David Letterman's former collaborator and girlfriend, whose amusing essay feels out of place, since she discusses her live-in boyfriend. A few works delve into thera-speak: one writer suggests "we replace 'empty nest syndrome' with 'open nest syndrome,'" while another, remarking about a road trip she and her boyfriend are on, informs readers, "Our other journey-the one we're on as a couple-is in its fifth year." Readers who can overlook this preciousness will enjoy the other warm voices of compassionate, hard-earned knowledge within.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
From the Inside Flap
"An intriguing look at life and love in the over-forty lane. Spinsterhood never seemed so sexyor so smart." Autumn Stephens, Editor, Roar Softly and Carry a Great Lipstick
Top customer reviews
Once the worst of the grief passed, hoow would life be different than when I was a youthful, idealistic 20 year old just starting out on my path in life, choosing my career and looking for a possible partner? How had I changed since then? How would that affect my life now? How would I forge a new identity, date, possibly open myself up to remarriage?
I was also curious about how living as a single woman over 40 would compare to being single in one's 20s, when viewpoints (and, possibly, physical appearance) can be quite different from women who have aged, gone through several relationships and, as a result, possibly matured and grown wiser.
This book didn't disappoint. While some selections were bittersweet, otherw were humorous, matter of fact or deeply honest. When I finished this book, I felt better for the experience. I also loved the fact that it can be picked up and read in sections, not having to go through it in any particular order.
Several selections stood out but I particularly liked Joyce Maynard's account of an online dating experience with a guy who seened promising online but, in person, presented a much different personality than she expected, making a simple discussion over cup of Chai seem...painful and baffling. She portrays the baffling world that can confront women who bravely risk dating but with different perspectives than when they were younger. As I read her account, I felt like I was right there, living every uncomfortable and agonizing moment (but it was written with a light touch and parts were humorous). This is just one of many standout pieces in this collecton.
I started a book club on this book alone -- for diverse, single (mostly) women of a certain age (mostly). It's a rich demographic, in terms of what we provide for EACH OTHER emotionally and psychologically... chatting about dating, divorce, empty nests, pets, menopause, sex drive, cougar syndrome, single woman economics, hobbies and joys, etc.
It was the book (having heard an interview w/ an author and editor on NPR like 6 months ago) that inspired the club, even before having read it myself. And the book has fulfilled my expectations, and then some.
That is one reason I was hoping for a little more from this book. These 29 women are survivors. They haven't been beaten down by our being regarded as disposable items. But surviving isn't the same as living. They've found their niche in life, so to speak, with satisfaction but sometimes there's no joy. Are their voices subdued because they're afraid if someone hears, they might lose it all?
There is a lot of disappointment here. But there is also hope. Each one still has a long way to go in this life, many years in which to live, not only survive. And they seem strong enough, determined enough. Surely they have already experienced many positive events or moments. Those are what keep them going. And those I would have loved to read about more.
I can relate so strongly to the underlying sadness in many of these stories. There is joy in their wisdom, greater freedom and independence. And the attitude that says I got through this, and I can get through whatever else comes along, can encourage us all.