A writer and syndicated radio host’s no-holds-barred account of how she survived the rigors of midlife crisis and menopause.
When Atlantic contributing editor Loh (Mother on Fire: A True Motherf%#$@ Story About Parenting!, 2008, etc.) reached her late 40s, the stability and rationality that had characterized her world suddenly vanished. Feeling vaguely trapped by a staid marriage, she made a “prison break” with an equally bored married man into what she thought was the freedom of an affair. The result was a messy divorce and an even messier period of regrouping. But Loh’s malaise persisted and began to manifest as physical symptoms—including bloating, weight gain and rapidly shifting moods—she could neither explain nor completely control. With candor and attitude to spare, the author chronicles how she navigated the unexpected transformations that occur in all midlife women. Determined to find a way to endure “the change” with her sanity intact, she explored everything from best-selling books about finding happiness to hip new exercise trends like Kettlebelling. But sometimes even her best efforts were not enough. As she tried to cope with her unsettling physical and emotional changes, she also had to deal with other volatile situations. One was her two daughters’ transitions into adolescence and immersion into “the peculiar horrors of Facebook.” The other was her eccentric octogenarian father’s decision to marry a younger woman he thought would take care of him but who would eventually be diagnosed with a severe case of dementia. Loh observes that late baby boomer/early Gen-X women like Madonna, Oprah and Demi Moore have helped remove the stigma associated with “the change” and shown that menopause can be a time of female empowerment rather than hysterical helplessness. Humbled and changed from the inside out, Loh still celebrates menopause as a brand of wisdom revealing “this chore wheel called modern life” for the sham it is.
A funny, frank and hopeful memoir of middle age.