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highs-in-the-low-fiftiesReviewed by Poppy Johnson

Highs in the Low Fifties: How I Stumbled through the Joys of Single Living is essentially Marion Winik’s diary of how she lived her life as an empty nester and what became of her in the end (well her story is still evolving, there is no end). Winik begins in present tense by describing her relationship with her ex-husband Crispin and her life in rural Pennsylvania. In somewhat typical fashion, as her children grow up she develops a mental twitch. She does not experience a total and complete “break down” but many things in her life go downhill around the same time she mistakenly leaves a family dog unattended in a car in a park and ride parking lot.

The book is a pint sized chronicle of the author’s marriage, loves, ex-loves, first jobs, first husband, online dating attempts, her friends, children, her own childhood, her dildo, her Craigslist adventures, her loves lost, her therapy sessions, her dating outside of her nationality and her roommate. I am not sure what I was expecting from the book, but I did not receive it, sad to say. It offers definite chapters on each subsection of the author’s life, with titles such as “love in the time of Baltimore,” and “the ambassadress of the white race.” I saw the book as a list of misfires for the author, but I was unable to find anything in common with her at first, and was not drawn to her plight immediately.

As I kept reading the book, I could sort of see that she was quite typical of a woman of a “certain age,” who may feel lost, who may now know what to do next in life and for that I do feel empathy for her situation. There is always time to try something new, whether it is to date again, or reinvent yourself after retirement or a layoff.

This book may be enjoyed by someone who is a single white female (on the roads that should not be taken in life), or for women readers who may want to know what to do after a divorce. Others may want to read it to just see what it is like for a woman on the brink of a major life change that is still evolving and developing. I also recommend it for women of adult ages as a life change type of tale, with the standard twists and turns of someone who, like all of us, is still trying to figure out what exactly she should be doing with her life.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

After a decade of working in several NYC law departments and teaching, Poppy decided she enjoyed writing full-time. She currently works as a freelance writing consultant, and lives with her husband and sons on the East Coast.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Marion Winik. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.