A common calamity faces men and women in the Western Hemisphere. It’s not a sickness per se, but more of a mental condition that afflicts people as they get older and realize that their lives really haven’t had the impact that they always hoped they would have. Some call it a mid-life crisis…others just call it life. In her novel, Losing Me, Sue Margolis tells the story of Barbara Stirling. Past mid-life at 58, she works as a teacher, comes home, talks to the husband, talks to her son and presses repeat day after day. There is a familiar monotony to her days that is comforting in its familiarity but suffocating at the same time. When Barbara is suddenly faced with losing her position, her whole world starts to unravel as she begins to analyze just exactly the life she has built for herself.
Married to a workaholic husband with a deadbeat son, Barbara finds herself in panic mode worrying about what the future holds. When a crisis emerges in the Orchard Hill housing area with one of her student’s families, she realizes that all along, her strength was helping the children she served. Barbara starts to piece together all the parts of her life that really made her significant. Only when she begins to focus on her strengths instead of dwelling on her unhappiness does she take bold steps to accomplish goals bigger than she thought possible and help the children and families she loves at the same time.
As I read this novel, I had mixed feelings about the story. On the one hand, the story progresses slowly and methodically. It moved at the pace of Barbara’s life with very little detail to make it grab the reader’s attention. I put it down many many times because it is a rather slow read. At the same time, it felt genuine and strangely familiar, like I had seen this story played out in the lives of people around me way too many times. Barbara’s crisis is really one familiar to many people who realize at some point that the life they are living has been relatively meaningless or at the very least, they are very unhappy and unable to see it’s meaning. Only when Barbara is able to stop wallowing in her unhappiness is she able to focus on someone and something else that she is able to positively effect with her life. We all have choices. As the saying goes, the glass is half full or half empty depending on how you look at it. Regardless of one’s age, the story told here is sure to encourage you to adjust your perspective for a better tomorrow.
Sarah McCubbin is a homeschooling and foster mom in NE Ohio where she resides with her husband and 7 children. In addition to reading great books, she enjoys gardening, traveling and blogging at Living Unboxed.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Penguin Group. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.