A travel memoir describing one woman’s international trip to interview women who are around 50 years old.
Lynch (I’m Bored, 1992) traveled the world with a goal of interviewing 50 women in 50 countries, all 50-ish in age. Her quest was brought on by the death of her mother shortly following Lynch’s own 50th birthday. She asked each woman she met the same set of questions about different aspects of their lives, including their children and parents, education and even menopause (when cultural norms allowed it). In the author’s native Canada, the United States, Morocco, Vietnam and elsewhere, many women answered her final question (“Are you happy?”) with “Yes.” In Vietnam, she interviewed Sach, a 48-year-old woman who owned a small outdoor restaurant: “Here is a woman who has lived through a war, lost her father, had her husband leave her with a newborn and two other children, works sixteen hours a day, and is still happy. I told her she should be an inspirational speaker.” A trend of happy, ambitious and proud women emerges although Lynch doesn’t analyze this fact, except to say that she was humbled to have met each of her subjects. The author didn’t secure an interview in every country she visited, but when she did, it helped her to go beyond a tourist’s experience to see the real lives of local women. The author’s accounts of her sightseeing can often feel like a drawn-out itinerary, but her interview subjects often offer compelling information about their respective countries’ history, culture and people.
An ambitious, often engaging set of conversations with women around the world.