When Chicago anesthesiologist and debut memoirist Overton turned 44, her world turned permanently and irrevocably upside-down.
The “perfect” life and marriage that she had built with her occasionally philandering physician husband over 20 years came to a jarring end. In a haze of confusion, Overton began her grimly hilarious journey into the Heart of Darkness “craziness” that came to define her new reality. Naïvely assuming that she “would move from one marriage into another, or at least into another committed relationship,” the author sought companionship with men she met through online dating services. What she found was a nightmare: If the men didn’t mention or reveal a “propensity to dump women after a month” or openly discuss problems with physical ailments including erectile dysfunction, they were freakishly quirky—and sometimes downright dangerous—obsessives who believed that gifts from Victoria’s Secret were every woman’s fantasy. As Overton stumbled through the midlife dating jungle, her body betrayed her with a life-threatening aneurysm that she became aware of during an abortive sexual encounter. She survived this with her own mortality but found that others—from her best friend to her mother to her own daughter—did not, or emerged physically and/or emotionally scarred. If not for Overton’s singular determination to highlight the humorous and learn from the apocalyptic events that overtook her in middle age, the narrative would read like an embittered litany of yet another angry divorcée. Growing older may be difficult, she writes, but surviving the inevitable traumas of later life may offer passage to the enlightened state of being that “sounds more appealing than dotage.”
At times brutally funny reading about midlife coming-of-age.