A young-adult author reflects on the realities of middle age.
At 44, Gideon (Pucker, 2006, etc.) looked at the various roles she’d assumed as the younger twin in a family of four girls, wife of a loving husband and stay-at-home mother of a sweet nine-year-old boy, and found herself guiltily asking, “Is this all there is?” The author’s memoir, a hilariously probing account of personal growth and stasis, is Gideon’s answer to that existential query. After her husband purchased a souped-up 4x4 van complete with a “cattle-guard contraption that must have been handy when plowing through herds of wildebeests in the Serengeti but is presumably unnecessary in the suburbs,” Gideon began an aggressive inventory of her life. Looking first at her marriage, she quickly determined that perhaps she was the one in crisis, noting how her husband had maintained something of the spontaneity of their younger years. In their 20s, she writes, “Our needs were simple. We lived dangerously, which is to say we were up for anything. We didn’t think about what things cost. We thought only about the cost of not doing things. Which is exactly why—I suddenly understand—my husband has bought the van for us.” Such epiphanies abound in Gideon’s account, and the author takes those small lessons and effectively analyzes them in ways useful to a wide readership. Women in particular will appreciate her musings on motherhood—“There comes a time in every mother’s life when it becomes very clear that your child is a much better person than you are”—and the healthy dose of self-loathing that informs the author’s sarcasm and warm sense of irony as she reckons with her burgeoning eccentricities.
Refreshing and sassy, with more than a dash of tenderness thrown in.