Review posted March 16, 2010.
Penguin Audio, 2005. 12 hours, 10 CDs.
A big thank you to my sister Wendy for giving me this audiobook. It's another one I've been meaning to review for a very long time, but didn't get around to because it wasn't a library book, and so didn't have a due date. I know I listened to it more than a year ago, because I remember I was the same age as the protagonist, forty-four years old. But what happened in the book is still vivid in my mind, even after all this time. Perhaps since I listened to it, and thus "read" it over a long period of time, it stuck in my mind all the longer.
Marilyn Grimes is 44 years old and begins going through almost every issue a woman can face in midlife. She and her husband are growing apart, and she thinks he might be straying. She'd like to go back to school and pursue some old dreams, now that her kids are grown. But she still seems to be looking after everyone else.
Her mother's mind seems to be drifting; her foster sister is in trouble with the law; her own hormones are doing strange things; her ex-husband comes back into her life; her husband goes to South America to "find himself." Her daughter is expecting; her son gets into a ski accident; her mother-in-law, who lives with them, is finding romance. And that's just part of it.
Honestly, before the end of the book, in my mind I was begging the author to have pity on poor Marilyn. But I needn't have done so. Marilyn handles it all with humor and grace, and enough breakdowns and discouragement to still seem human. Her relationship with her two friends Paulette and Bunny adds laughter and perspective to her life as she navigates all the pitfalls of midlife and figures out what course she wants to set for the rest of her life.