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LEAP DAYS by Katherine Lanpher


Chronicles of a Midlife Crisis

by Katherine Lanpher

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-8212-5830-3
Publisher: Springboard Press

Essays by a displaced over-40 divorcee with deep Midwestern roots who moves to Manhattan.

Onetime Minnesota Public Radio reporter Lanpher decided as far back as her teens that she would never live in New York because “I didn’t want to pay the price.” The point of reference: a college acquaintance with an intimidating Park Avenue address who liked to boast that “she had her own shrink.” Nonetheless, the day came: Lanpher was offered the job of co-host of Al Franken’s Air America radio show and—on a leap day, Feb. 29th—made the jump, renting out her beloved, cozy house in Saint Paul and moving to an apartment in Greenwich Village. Initially, these essays have a somewhat predictable tone; she is, to all New Yorkers she meets, from cab drivers and deli countermen to cold-staring strangers, the stereotypical out-of-towner, little lost farm girl in the concrete jungle, etc. She doesn’t know enough to not hail a cab going the wrong way on a one-way street; she uses odd words—like “sack” to mean “bag.” As far as she’s concerned, it’s one egregious faux pas after another. But behind her wit and perspective, Lanpher rallies; she’ll learn how to act, how to dress, how to talk like a native and properly scorn the tourists. Forcing its way into the picture, however, is some serious introspection, about her failed marriage, about her childlessness (she wonders, by choice?). Finally, after two years, she finds herself “going home” on the subway in Manhattan.

Tempting fare for anyone who’s ever wondered: Who am I and how did I get here?