From an “imaginatively twisted and fearless” writer (Los Angeles Times), a hilarious memoir of middle age.
In a voice that is wry, disarming, and totally candid, Sandra Tsing Loh tells the moving and laugh-out-loud tale of her roller coaster through "the change." This is not your grandmother's menopause story. Loh chronicles utterly relatable, everyday perils: raising preteen daughters, weathering hormonal changes, and the ups and downs of a career and a relationship. She writes also about an affair and the explosion of her marriage, while managing the legal and marital hijinks of her eighty-nine-year-old dad. The upbeat conclusion: it does get better.
Southern California author Loh has amply demonstrated her stand-up comic skills in her syndicated radio show and previous autobiographical works (Mother on Fire) and here faces down her life at sudden impasse in her late 40s. Having left her longtime husband and father of her two preteen girls, Mr. X, as she calls him, two years before, she took up with Mr. Y, a theater colleague and friend of 10 years whom she regarded as the Ethel to her Lucy, "the sunny island my shipwreck had landed on." After a reckless affair that she compares to a prison break ("We dug ourselves out of our cells with spoons, and we ran for it"), the two left their spouses and cohabited. Tsing Loh, half-Chinese, half-German, recognized that her abrupt fits of weeping, "gothic moods," worry, and manic energy were no doubt the first symptoms of menopause. Resorting to cursory research and plenty of secondhand advice from sister "frumpy Generation Xers," who were busy mothers and caregivers to elders, Tsing Loh's remedies involve everything from hormone replacement therapy to plant-based forms of estrogen, and "happiness projects" to counteract the force of "gloomlets" like puppies and the color yellow. From her own histrionic blowout with her new partner that requires therapy, Tsing Loh learned that women going through menopause need compassion and hydration, above all, and the encouragement to see the potential for wisdom when the cloud of hormones lifts.
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Funny for midlife moms
Tsing Loh's revelations on modern parenting and marriage are hilarious. She adds helpful insights into menopause, but most of the fun is in her skewering of her own mixed motives and relationship misfires. My only caveat is to carve out some time because you won't want to put this book down once you start!