Wednesday, August 8, 2018

"No One Tells You This" by Glynnis MacNicol

I don't know why I picked up "No One Tells You This" from the shelf in the biography/memoir section in the mega-bookstore last week. I don't remember hearing about it, or its author, Glynnis MacNicol (although I later realized I'd recently read an article she'd written for the New York Times), but I'm always looking for interesting new memoirs. Maybe the stark cover design piqued my interest, or perhaps the complimentary blurb from Rebecca Traister (a feminist writer I admire, and author of "All the Single Ladies," which I reviewed here) on the cover?

Then I opened the inside flap -- and read this: "If the story doesn’t end with marriage or a child, what then?"

SOLD!!  (lol)  I started reading it as soon as I finished my current selection, and blazed through it over the next four  days.

MacNicol, as it turns out, is a Canadian, from Toronto, who has lived and worked in New York City since her early 20s. She's now in her early 40s, never married, no kids -- and (finally) happy with her life. "No One Tells You This" centres on the time around MacNicol's milestone 40th birthday, and how she comes to terms with "the husband-shaped hole" in her life (not to mention her lack of children) -- while at the same time juggling the demands of work deadlines, friends & extended family. Most critically, her mother is diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and dementia;  her sister is pregnant with her third child, newly separated from her husband, and needs Glynnis's help when the baby arrives.

My one minor quibble about the book: I felt it went on perhaps just a teeny bit too long.  Part of me felt like the logical ending was probably at or around the end of Chapter 19, with Glynnis settled into a gorgeous new Brooklyn apartment, the envy of all her friends.  But of course, real life isn't always like that, is it? with a happy ending all tied up with a pretty bow. And I did enjoy hearing about what came next: her impromptu trip to a Wyoming dude ranch (because she could!), and about what happened to her mother (as well as her sister and father).

I started writing a longer review, pulling quotes and identifying some of the "aha!" moments of recognition I got while reading this book -- but it got to be a bit long & messy -- and so I decided I should probably let you read the book yourself and draw your own lessons/conclusions. :)  Whether you consider yourself childLESS not by choice, childFREE by choice or something in between -- or even if you're just a woman (married or not, kids or not) whose life hasn't turned out exactly the way you thought it might -- I think you will find yourself relating to this book in some way. I loved it. Thumbs up, 5 stars on Goodreads. :)

This was book #16 that I've read so far in 2018, bringing me to 67% of my 2018 Goodreads Reading Challenge goal of 24 books.  I am (for the moment, anyway...!) 2 books ahead of schedule to meet my goal!  :)  

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