This review was written for BookReporter.com.
I’ve loved every one of Camille Pagan’s books (and all of their long, playful titles) and Woman Last Seen in Her Thirties is no exception. From the first line: “It’s an age-old story …” I was compelled to see how this story played out. How would this “tale as old as time” be different, or the same?
Pagan’s voice is familiar, comfortable and accessible, peppered with witty lines that made me smile and laugh aloud. The protagonist, Maggie, is wholly relatable and the story hits squarely on issues, thoughts, and considerations for “women of a certain age.” As a reader in her late 40s, I loved the quips and “middle-aged-woman” details, but mostly, I loved the portrayals of, and journey toward, claiming the power and self assurance that accompanies this time of life.
Pagan is spot-on with her message about the critical importance of women being true to themselves and not losing themselves in motherhood or wifehood; she underscores the value of self-care and prioritizing oneself within those other roles.
I love diving into a book without knowing a thing about it, but for those of you who want to know, “what’s it about?” here’s the back cover copy:
“At fifty-three, Maggie Harris has a good marriage and two mostly happy children. Perpetually anxious, she’s also accumulated a list of semi-reasonable fears: falling air conditioners, the IRS, identity theft, skydiving, and airbag recalls. But never once did Maggie worry that her husband of nearly thirty years would leave her.
On the day Adam walks out the door, everything that makes Maggie secure goes with him. Only then does she realize that while she’s been busy caring for everyone else, she’s become invisible to the world—and to herself.
Maggie cautiously begins to rebuild her life with a trip to Rome, a new career, and even a rebound romance. But when a fresh crisis strikes and an uncertain future looms, she must decide: How much will she risk to remain the woman she’s just become?”
Woman Last Seen in Her Thirties is both entertaining and filled with life’s wisdoms. A few of my favorites:
“… there was something enlivening about the affection of someone who hadn’t known you for most of your life.”
“Sometimes the longer you thought about something, the harder it became to make a decision.”
As a stay at home mother myself for years I loved this line: “Adam had given me both his DNA and his blessing to make mothering my life’s work.” Even as for two decades, I’ve run my own businesses, volunteered excessively, and became an award-winning author, I still first consider myself a stay-at-home mom — even now with one kid in college and two teenagers at home.
And, lastly, I have to share this tidbit since I chuckled and pegged this minor character, Adrian Fromm, as a fork — a fork who doesn’t turn out to be a complete fork.
“And that guy you interviewed with sounds like every guy I dated in college. He’s only out for himself. … Basically, picture that jerk with six different haircuts.”
Woman Last Seen in Her Thirties is an empowering story for women of all ages with a wise reminder not to lose our authentic selves.