Are women over a certain age invisible? Jeanne Ray didn't write her first novel until she was sixty. Then, she produced four terrific books aimed at mature women, Julie and Romeo, Julie and Romeo Get Lucky, Eat Cake, and Step-Ball-Change. The books all featured mature women and family relationships, dealing with them with dry humor and a great deal of understanding and heart. It's been ten years since her last book. She just seemed to disappear. Now, her latest novel, Calling Invisible Women, addresses that problem, women who disappear. They're the women no one seems to notice anymore. They're taken for granted. And, it could be any one of us over the age of fifty.
Clover Hobart was brushing her teeth when she noticed she was invisible. She couldn't see herself in the mirror, but her son and husband still talked to her. They might have looked right through her as they ate with her, or asked her to run errands, but they never noticed she was invisible. She was inclined to chalk it up to her husband's busy life as a pediatrician, and her son's anxiety about getting a job. She didn't want to admit they had stopped seeing her years earlier when she went from being a reporter to a woman who worked from home, writing a gardening column while handling all the chores around the house. Then her best friend, Gilda, was brutally honest with her. "It's just the plight of women after a certain age. No one can see you."
When a small ad in the newspaper caught Clover's eye, she learned there was an entire group of invisible women who met regularly at a nearby hotel. They were women who had gone through menopause, took medication to avoid osteoporosis, maybe an anti-depressant. Oh, and they might have tried Botox at one time or another. Invisible women. Meeting those women, along with advice from her mother-in-law, freed Clover. She found ways to use her invisibility to her advantage. When Clover started to feel more powerful and less inhibited, she discovered new ways for women to be recognized. Her own family might not notice she was invisible, but Clover Hobart was going to stand up and help other invisible women prove they were still important, and they still could make a difference in the world.
All of Jeanne Ray's books have some bittersweet moments. But they also have wonderful strong women at the heart of the stories. The dry quiet humor is marvelous. Imagine being invisible and not having to deal with security at the airports. Ray shows us airports, secure companies, schools, a doctor's office, and businesses, all through the eyes of a woman who is invisible. And, she shows us the heartwarming moments when someone recognizes the woman is invisible. There's pain, a sense of loss, bittersweet moments. Clover's mother-in-law, Irene, points out that she's gained a new perspective on everything, including her own life. There's so much wisdom and warmth in this book. Calling Invisible Women is a cautionary tale. At the same time, it's a story of women's strength, and a story of triumph and love.
Calling Invisible Women by Jeanne Ray. Crown Publishers. 2012. ISBN 9780307395054 (hardcover), 246p.
I have been a library manager/administrator for over 30 years, in Ohio, Florida, Arizona, and, now, Indiana. Winner of the 2011 Arizona Library Association Outstanding Library Service Award. I am a contributing Book Reviewer for Library Journal, Mystery Readers Journal, ReadertoReader.com and VibrantNation.com. Winner of the 2009 and 2010 Spinetingler Awards for Best Reviewer. First Fan Guest of Honor for Desert Sleuths Chapter of Sisters in Crime, Write Now! Conference.
It's an honor to be asked to review books, and I'm grateful to all the publishers, publicists, and authors who send me books. Thank you. Reviews will appear on my blog if I've had a chance to read, and finish, the book. If I do not finish a book, I won't review it, and I will not respond to emails asking when, or if, I'll be reviewing a book.
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Splish, Splash, Splosh!: David Melling
Book: Splish, Splash, Splosh! Author: David Melling (@DavidMelling1) Pages: 22 Age Range: 2-5 Splish, Splash, Splosh! by David Melling is a medium-sized boar...
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