Growing older may not be a picnic, but comedic actress Annabelle Gurwitch (You Say Tomato, I Say Shut Up) packs her literary basket with riotous turns in I See You Made An Effort, her very funny, keen observations on middle age.
The book starts with the author, on the cusp of 50, receiving an unwelcome solicitation from the AARP and ends with an essay, rendered in dramatic form, offering a clever take on thoughts that infuse a myriad of menopausal minds as they toss and turn, obsessing over life at four a.m. In between, Gurwitch offers fourteen, wickedly funny riffs on her hilarious jaunts to the Apple Store, where she lustfully fantasizes about the "Genius" techie, a boy her son's age servicing her computer; her quest for anti-aging concealer; attending a rock concert with her teenage son; the challenges of meditation, growing older in Hollywood, being a member of the "Sandwich Generation" and the perils of Google, among other topics. Unexpected poignancy underscores a piece about a dying friend and her quest for assisted suicide.
Gurwitch, a professed atheist, prefaces many essays with amusing petitions to God, making requests such as if there is a heaven, she'd like to spend her afterlife wearing a plush bathrobe, and if reincarnation exists, she'd like to be a few inches taller in her next life.
Humor and sarcasm may serve as the driving force behind each of these comical, laugh-out-loud essays, but profound insight into the absurdities of the feminine experience of modern middle age ultimately infuses Gurwitch's smart, searing wit.
I See You Made An Effort: Compliments, Indignities, and Survival Stories from the Edge of 50 by Annabelle Gurwitch
Blue Rider Press, $25.95 hardcover, 9780399166181, 256 pp
Publication Date: March 6, 2014
Note: This review is a reprint and is being posted (in a slightly different form) with the permission of Shelf Awareness. To read this review on Shelf Awareness: Reader's Edition (3/14/14), click HERE