Carrie Bradshaw meets the AARP in this mediocre meta-memoir.
Shortly before her 50th birthday, music journalist Ganahl was asked to write a column for the San Francisco Chronicle about being single and middle-aged. Here, we read about the dates that she wrote about for the paper; snippets of the actual column; some of the emails she received in response to the column; about the dates she decided not to chronicle in the Chronicle. In short, this is a tedious, repetitive and sophomoric book. Ganahl’s advanced age—advanced, that is, for a swinging singleton tell-all—seems only to have given her wrinkles. What the years haven’t imparted is wisdom. To wit her on-again off-again affair with a jazz musician named Lenny. Over and over, he dallies with her, and still Ganahl keeps going back for more; the penultimate page finds her pathetically leaving him asleep in a hotel as she slinks off alone to her 50th birthday party. It’s hard to know if she’s being serious or satirical when she exclaims things like, “But he shared his feelings with me! It was like a miracle. At this moment, I can almost believe this is the beginning of a new chapter for us. One that might actually lead to love.” One of the few threads that makes this book bearable is Ganahl’s depiction of her charming 20-something daughter, Erin, who is a paragon of filial devotion. (At the same time, Erin’s astute common-sense underscores her mother’s lack of insight.) Ganahl also tells some truly funny stories about horrible dates: There’s the lawyer from Louisiana who flew to California to meet Ganahl after reading her column, only to get plastered halfway through their date, and the environmental activist who confesses love to Ganahl while under the influence of Ecstasy. But readers will cringe a lot more than they’ll chuckle.