Breezy chick-lit memoir/self-help manual for the menopausal woman by screenwriter Jackson (Confessions of a Shopaholic), who works hard to be funny and sometimes succeeds.
The author begins by assessing her grandmother as having been too negligent of her body and appearance and her mother as obsessed with her looks but misguided. After the chapter on Botox and plastic surgery, readers may well conclude that the author is a tad obsessed as well, but with the advantage of newer tools and information. First, though, Jackson looks at the horrors of menopause and the effects of declining estrogen production on a woman’s libido. The author has fun with a fantasy-aided masturbation scene and another involving sex toys too complicated for a middle-aged couple. The declining-estrogen chapter leads naturally into a discussion of the numerous health woes that can beset the no-longer-young. Jackson also tackles losses—of one’s job, which threatens one’s identity; of children, who grow up and leave home; of friends and acquaintances taken away by death. She makes an attempt at financial advice for those turning 50: Live within your income and plan ahead. Then the author returns to a more entertaining topic—meeting men on the Internet. She conducts an experiment using herself as guinea pig and concludes that there are in fact decent men out there, and the Internet is one way for a middle-aged woman to find them, if she has patience and perseverance. If there’s a take-home message, it’s that at 50, don’t fool yourself into believing that you are still youthful and that the best is yet to come. However, there is still time to live life fully as a mature woman.
The self-help aspects are overshadowed by the author’s self-centeredness, and her prolonged quest for a youthful appearance belies her ostensible message about recognizing one’s maturity.