Love and Trouble: A Mid-Life Reckoning

Claire Dederer. Knopf, $25.95 (256p) ISBN 978-1-101-94650-3
In this edgy, frank, and at times outright hilarious tale of lost youth and midlife angst, Dederer (Poser), a wife and mother of two who lives on an idyllic island a ferry ride away from Seattle, describes finding herself in a funk at age 44 in 2011. Dederer is “inexplicably sad” (as are many of her middle-aged friends); the high point of her day is nibbling pomegranates (while cloaked in a stained gray hoodie) and drinking bourbon. She wonders what happened to the feisty, adventuresome, and sexually promiscuous young woman she once was. Inspired, in part, by an unexpected kiss from an older writer, Dederer journeys into her past, lining up 20 diaries ranging from age eight (a 1975 Peanuts diary) to the night before her wedding. Though she deems her diaries “a pageant of stupidity” and her former self a “clueless bitch,” she longs for the heightened sense of time, place, and sexual excitement she finds in their pages. The memoir takes readers through Dederer’s childhood in suburban Laurelhurst (her mother and father divorced when she was five and her mom took up with a younger hippie), her teen obsession with boys, and her days at Oberlin College, where she felt “trapped and anxious.” The author briefly lived in Australia before returning to Seattle and eventually choosing a life of “constraint.” This candid memoir will resonate with women (and quite possibly men) of all ages, but particularly those in midlife. Dederer brings a startling intimacy and immediacy to her version of growing up female in America. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/27/2017
Release date: 05/09/2017
Compact Disc - 978-0-7352-8681-8
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