Marrying George Clooney…Ah, the pictures that go along with that statement enters our minds and peace reigns. I am eternally grateful to Amy Ferris, the author (I shouldn’t be surprised, I’ve heard that the name Amy is a synonym for humor:))
So, it was no surprised to me that Amy Ferris came into my life with her book: Marrying George Clooney: Confessions from a Midlife Crisis, and made me laugh until I cried. (Seal Press; 1580052975)
It IS all in the delivery. That’s how I feel about this absolutely outrageously perfect book. Yes, I said perfect. Because the beauty of each and every chapter is literally in the imperfections that life throws at us every day. Is a midlife crisis a mixture of tears, humor, pain, and hilarity? You bet it is. At least, it is through this author’s eyes.
Erma Bombeck, I still believe, did this best. She told the truth. Not since the death of Ms. Bombeck have I read an author who could literally “nail it”…until now. In this fantastic book, Ms. Ferris offers up, without apology, everything she feels, sees, and does during this most frustrating part of a woman’s life. Yes, the inevitable Menopause. The writing is raw and sweet, as she delights the reader with paragraph after paragraph detailing her 3:00 AM experiences. I haven’t gone through Menopause yet, but I, too, have wavered between jumping off a bridge in order to end all the stupidity surrounding me, or pushing someone I love in front of a car. With every troubling thought that rushes through the female mind, the most frequent conclusion that we arrive at is that someone’s life has to end.
I want to share a couple of revelations that hit me right between the eyes. The author wrote that it was her obligation and responsibility to acknowledge and hold dear the privilege of her own life. I have to say…Bingo! Yahtzee! She called ‘Midlife’ a reinvention of the wheel. And I learned a great deal. So much so, that I will keep this book on my bedside table when ‘Midlife’ hits, so I can always know that someone else once felt as bad as I will.
The author talks about her father, who died far too soon. That, unfortunately, is something I do share with her. She also speaks volumes in very small paragraphs about her mother – a wonderfully brilliant woman who, unfortunately, didn’t really like kids but had them anyway – who is now suffering from Alzheimer’s. This, thankfully, is something I do not share with the author. But her words brought tears to my ears when she wrote candidly about the regret and resentment that beam from her mother’s eyes. She also asked a question that really struck home for me…How do you retire from writing? Can you just log off one day and say “I’m done?” I hope not. Without that release, the power and freedom of imagination that can appear on a blank page, I think I’d cash it ALL in and call it a day. Even though the author admits to having writers block for four years, she still continued on and has produced a sweet, satisfying, hysterical book.
I want to do this author and this book justice. So I’m going to do something she asks in her pages. Early on in the book, Ms. Ferris writes that she wants readers to find their view…tell their story. So…I will. And I’m going to pick one of my favorites that comes from motherhood: One day the television was on. My daughter was about five years old at the time. A commercial came on and, unbeknown to me, my child found it fascinating. After it was over, she ran into the kitchen and asked me what reptile dysfunction was? I responded so fast…”Well, honey, it’s an alligator with a limp.”
I want to thank the author for her honesty – brutal – which I truly enjoy, her sense of humor, and the power behind her messages – good and bad. She wants us to laugh until we cry, and sometimes cry until we laugh. Get mad, get mean, get even…live life. Ms. Ferris, I’m probably the only one out of the two of us who’s extremely happy that you went through Menopause.
Now…there was another woman writer who hit home with me in 2009, and her name is Karen Weinreb. She was another from left field that appeared in my mailbox, and made me think. Her book is called The Summer Kitchen (St. Martin’s Press; 0-312-37925-4)
Boy, do the powers that be know how to pick the reviewer, aye! I am from the Litchfield Hills of Connecticut and I not only understood every aspect and scene of this book, but the pages also made me want to go back home to that world of blatant pomposity.
The Summer Kitchen is a debut novel for Ms. Weinreb, and it’s definitely a good one. The basic elements of a good fiction novel are all in there: Woman’s husband works on Wall Street and does something completely illegal while working with his hedge fund. Hence, the wife with everything loses everything. Now, we’re talking money, here. We’re talking about the fixated world of the rich New Yorkers who live in bedroom communities far from the city (usually because their mistresses live in the heart of Manhattan). These are men who are masters of their domain, but do not want to lose the 3.2 kids (going to prep school), and the mansion that sits near the Village Green, and the wife who spends her days on the local committees but will drop their friends in a second if they fall off the “ladder” of wealth and power.
Nora Banks is one of those wives, and when her husband is sent into the prison system, she must work her way back up the ladder or throw in the towel and move far away from the two-faced women that surround her. Her saving grace? She has two. One being her fantastic maid, Beatriz. This wonderful woman who was just maid and nanny becomes Nora’s best friend in her time of need and helps her resurrect the woman Nora desperately wants to be. It’s a wonderful relationship to read about. The Second saving grace is Nora’s Summer Kitchen. She can make food and baked goods that will literally send a person into Heaven when they bite into the delicious creations. The writer does so well with the descriptive work on the baking scenes that I wanted to crawl into the pages and try everything for myself. If you are dieting in any way, I warn you, after reading this you will run – not walk – to the nearest bakery and ruin all the good work you’ve done.
Enjoy these wonderful offerings from these wonderful women.
Until Next Time,
A.E. Lignor is a published author of historical fiction, currently working on a series of adventure novels, and book reviewer for many sites including: Once Upon a Romance; Bookpleasures.com; The RT (Romantic Times); and, ForeWord Magazine.