A quick hint about the week ahead. I had some recent reading that covered a spectrum of life stages—not quite the norm for me but the way it fell out means that this week is going to be Growing Up in Books week. Three books written for readers of three different age ranges (hint- photos below) but read by me. The only part of this reading I didn’t like was that the age groups stopped at 30ish. Nothing wrong with that age but, really, isn’t anyone but Claire Messud writing about middle-aged women? Seriously, I’ll leave you avid readers with that question—can you remember a great book you read with a female protagonist in their 40s or older?
Teenagers- aren’t they adorable and happy and diverse and dressed age-appropriately? Too bad it’s not real- even in fiction.
Twenty-something: it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
If you don’t recognize this group, I probably can’t help you. Hint: famous TV show.
Shannon @ River City Reading says
I just finished adoring Meg Wolitzer’s The Wife and the protagonist is in her sixties if I remember correctly. It seems like that age range is pretty firmly Wolitzer’s wheelhouse. But you’re right, there isn’t much. Looking forward to seeing what you have lined up!
You’re right because The Interestings went through middle-age. Good call! And you reminded me: Anna Quindlan, another one.
The week is largely going to be a bit fluffy, which is why I bundled it into an age theme.
[email protected] says
Just read Lydia’s Party by Margaret Hawkins — about a group of middle-aged female friends. And how about The Last First Day by Carrie Brown — a lovely book about a couple facing retirement? Or Someone by Alice Hoffman? Being Esther by Miriam Karmel? Or Emily Alone by Stewart O’Nan?
Thank you! I love being proved wrong and was pretty certain after I posted this that I would think of examples as well but I love getting new reading options!
[email protected] says
Oh, I wasn’t trying to prove you wrong! I think because I am now middle-aged I gravitate more towards books about people my own age. I haven’t jumped on the YA bandwagon yet — although I’m fascinated by the fact so many not-so-young adults have. One other reading suggestion — On Canaan’s Side by Sebastian Barry. It’s about an elderly Irish immigrant woman looking back at her very eventful life. The writing is gorgeous.
No worries, Ann! Since posting that I’ve thought of numerous authors who have done a marvelous job writing of middle-age.
Jenny @ Reading the End says
You’re totally right about this, although there are exceptions — I see some have been named above, and then also, Jeanne Ray writes books about women older than their thirties.
One of my bloggy friends, Anastasia of Here There Be Books, brought up a similar point on Twitter, though her threshold was even younger: She was saying that all the female protagonists seem to be in their teens and early twenties, and anyway, she started a Goodreads list for books with heroines older than 25. I added loads of books to Anastasia’s list, so rather than recap them all, I’ll just link you to the list: https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/69706.The_25_Club_Books_Starring_Older_Female_Protagonists
Rebecca @ Love at First Book says
I actually think I stay away from the 30s+ women books for the most part, but only because I’m just not in that phase of my life yet. Although I bet a bunch of the Oprah Book Club books have middle aged women main characters!
Katie @ Doing Dewey says
Miss Marple is definitely older than in her 40’s! The Saturday Night Widows involves some women in their 40’s and despite the sad topic, was a pretty empowering story too. And I think the protagonist of The Yellow Eyes of Crocodiles is probably in her 40’s but I’m not sure. Actually, just the other day, I was feeling as though I read a strangely large number of novels about women in their 30’s and older given that I’m only in my 20’s. I’ve loved all the ones I’ve listed though, so I guess it’s working for me 🙂
April @ The Steadfast Reader says
I don’t read a whole lot of YA but apparently I don’t read a whole lot of literature with middle aged ladies in it either. I should probably rectify that.
I got a lot of comments about that, April, and it appears that there is alot more fiction out there about middle aged women than i thought. I need to get after it!