More wine, please!

I’m a sucker for TV shows. All day. Every day. I fell in love with Gabrielle Union or should I say in love with her character Mary Jane in the Being Mary Jane series first. I wrote about it back in 2017 (time and tide waits for no man indeed!) and just as refreshing, funny, complicated and true her narrative in Mary Jane was, her book, We’re Going to Need More Wine, is even better. It’s apparent that Being Mary Janes’ storyline, does not veer far away from Gabrielles actual life story.

Initially, I obviously picked her book and started reading it – have you seen its cover? But I got distracted after the first chapter especially after I discovered its audio book. If you’ve watched Being Mary Jane then you know what a powerful, deeply accented black American, musical voice Gabrielle Union has and passing on her audio book would be ludicrous, at least for me.

Gabrielle tells her story so clearly, boldly, passionately and unapologetically that you want to meet her, hug her and thank her for existing and for her bold spirit. She narrates painful and joyous moments of her life with a balanced sense of humor and manages to make you smile or chuckle or laugh even where you should cry. She talks about her rape story lightheartedly but still manages to make you reflect on it without necessarily feeling the need to victimise her because Gabrielle Union is no victim. She is a warrior. A survivor and proof that you can overcome, improve and adapt. After all isn’t evolution in the order of nature?

You have to admire a woman who dares speak her truth unapologetically in a world where pretence is glorified, something she also addresses in her book, and where the truth is mostly unwelcome. In the beginning of the book, she promises to be nothing but and ‘honest bitch’ and she holds true to her word to the end!

This read is full of pain, laughter, love, marriage, cheating, heartbreaks, divorce, healing and growth. She promises to tell you her story as if you were two strangers on a date and she does. I love its title the most because right from it, Gabrielle easens you into her shoe. She insinuates that, despite how difficult and uncomfortable what I’m going to say might be, I will tell it anyway and if we may need an encouragement so as to go on, why not! More wine, please! 🍷

PS:

Celebrity I would like to meet in real life : 👆 💯

Book Review 003: The Man Eating Lions of Tsavo

There are good books and there are well written books. The latter are like a gem, rarer to find, exhilarating to read and leave you exploding with a myriad of emotions not knowing which to settle on. My favorite time for such reads is in the betimes hours of the morning when the world is dead silent save for the occasional roar of a car by the road which often shakes me from reality, rudely I must add.

Books are treasures thus when I saw my colleague chuckle a tad bit which was followed by a gentle laughter at his smartphones’ screen, my interest was immediately piqued. Less by his chuckle and laughter and more by the appearance of the pages of his softcopy read. It appeared a faded brownish as if to tell its ageless story effortlessly.

Amidst a gory tale full terrors, is intricately woven humor that will leave you laughing out loud in the comfort of your bean bag leaving a sudden wake of guilt in its path because it is a tragic story. A tragic story from the horse’ mouth. African literature is beautiful and this book allows you to see Kenya, eons ago, through the eyes of J. H. Patterson written in 1907 as he recounts his experiences while overseeing the construction of a railroad bridge via Tsavo.

The man-eating lions of Tsavo, as John Henry puts it, Their methods became so uncanny and their man-stalking so well-timed and so certain of success that the workmen firmly believed that they were not real animals at all, but devil’s in lions’ shape. These beasts culminated in ending the lives of one hundred and thirty five sepoys and African artisans and laborers employed in the construction of the Uganda railway.

J. H. Patterson bespeaks the true meaning of leadership despite his foolhardy, hilarious I must add, moments. His courage is intoxicating, his relentlessness admirable and his brush with death, literally, jolting. This is why after the death of these beasts, by the hand of Patterson, whose length from tip of nose to tip of tail was 9 feet 8 inches and they stood 3 feet 9 inches high and it took 8 men to carry one, the men lay prostate as if to worship him for his heroic act which really comprised sleep deprivation, dreamy, silent nights and hell lot of mosquito bites.

You want to meet John Henry Patterson and pick his brain and talk about how the lion brushed his face with his paw and of his foolhardy plans that he never seemed to take note of until the man eating lion was taunting him in the dark on the seat in the tree you see above the moment to read the last word in this beautifully written book.

Book review: 002

Title: Helium

Author: Rudy Francisco

Genre: Poetry

Witty perfectly describes Rudys writing. Without the explicit use of jargon, Rudy brings home his message as gently as a mother would feed her child.

If you’re a sucker for wordplay and poetry at large, this is a read you do not want to skip. Rudy brings to life mundane daily happenings and makes them a subject of interest to the reader. His delicately interwoven words gives one a sense of satisfaction as they read through his narrations.

To site a few;

8

He also oftenly does spoken word on the button poetry YouTube channel.

Enjoy your 📖!

Why am I self sabotaging?

This is a question that often crosses our minds. Which is why time and again, a TED talk I watched a while back( months to years) comes to mind, partly because of its catchy and oxymoronic heading How to be an honest liar and mostly because of its message. Has it ever occurred to you how deeply ingrained our self defense mechanisms are? How the mind is hell bent on protecting our self-proclaimed delicate ‘egos’ and how the protective mechanisms that once worked to our advantage in terms of survival, in present day are counterproductive?

As much as the usefulness of the fight or flight response cannot be underestimated, its counterproductivity cannot be ignored either. More especially in the present day.

We find low energy states to be the most desired. Eons ago, our forefathers only needed to hunt and gather to survive therefore any time they were not engaging in any survival tactics, the body’s energy stores focused on replenishment in readiness for the next fight or flight response. This is why Mel Robbins 5 second rule in her book the 5 second rule makes perfect sense – that failure to act on a thought within the first 5 seconds, results in the brain switching back to autopilot mode! This is why change will always be uncomfortable! Our minds quickly revert to low energy states if the axiom pushing beyond one’s comfort zone is not adhered to.

I am going to share with you some of the ways in which we use defence mechanisms in our daily lives knowingly and unknowingly because information is power and because an unexamined life is not a life worth living.

Of note is that, defence mechanisms are not necesarrily abnormal but are universal strategies of the psyche to deal with threatening situations either from the inner or external environment and they appear to be invoked automatically and are not under concious control.

Which defense mechanism have you used in the past thirty minutes?

Go on, name it.

What are you going to do about it?

There are two kinds of people; the first kind will read this post, find it informative, close their webpage and revert to their sleep or daily activity as if nothing happened and the second kind will go a step further to mull over this information in the minutes that follow their reading and being the curious type, even attempt at psychoanalyzing themselves in an effort to ‘catch’ themselves in their defence mechanism(s).

Which kind are you?

The kind that chooses zilch over growth or vice versa?

Where’s my arm?!

Imagine you’re 12 years old and goes without saying, as playful as a kitten. Amongst your peers, your teachers and colleagues consider you the most active. The doctor almost diagnosed you with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder when your elder sister who is in medical school read of ADHD and pegged it on you. Talk of the danger of little knowledge. Your friends love to come to your home after school and over the weekends to play with you because you’re always fun and creative with the games!

One day you decide to compete to see who can climb the guava tree in your homestead the fastest. Being the proactive one and the most playful, you decide to go last because you know for sure you shall win. The excitement and adrenaline rush as you climb the tree for the umpteenth time, at this point you could climb it with your eyes closed, you get over excited and one arm slips. You almost fall. You can feel your heart pumping so hard in your ribcage that you can no longer hear the shrill screams of your friends as they gasp at your loss of balance. Your little sister cries out for you to come down but you do not heed her advice. You climb higher up than the rest of your friends did because after all, haven’t you done this numerous times before without maim?

Suddenly you hear a crack, the branch supporting all of your weight suddenly gives way. Your heart is pumping so fast that you cannot hear the horrifying screams of your friends as the stand there helplessly not knowing what to do. You feel yourself become light and then heavy as you fall at a neck breaking speed which you do not realize at first since all you can see are the leaves brushing on your skin and the branches blunt impact on your tiny body. Your arms are flailing and there’s nada to grab onto.

Few seconds after impact, you now hear the terrified screams of your friends that terrify you too but you feel fine. No pain. Nada. Your mind wanders why they’re horrified. You quickly jump to your feet and as you turn to face them, you can see their jaws drop and their faces turn pale as if they just saw a ghost. Your little sister faints. Confusion sets in. You stare around frantically thinking there may be a monster behind you but there’s none. That’s when you feel a sharp pain in your right arm. You turn suddenly as you try to hold the place where the pain seems to be originating. You freeze. When your little arm should be, you feel something slimy and underneath you feel something hard and sharp. You freeze again still scared to look down. You take one deep breathe and take a look.

Everything goes black.

‘Your son has an open right humerus fracture,” the doctor calmly tells your mother.

‘He is going to need immediate surgery,’ he adds.

Your mother nods. Her face is wary and has exhaustion written all over it.

Reduction is done and you’re sent home. You can no longer play as much as you used to because your arm is in pain and your mother’s insists that you should limit its movement to promote faster healing. You’re just a child so you cannot put a name to the emotions you’re having. You’re feeling miserable and incapacitated. Is there a worse feeling?

Few days later the smile that’s ever planted on your round face starts to return and you’re restless as you cannot wait to play with your camaraderie again but alas! You suddenly start to lose sensation in your arm. You do not notice this until during your bath when your mother accidentally knocks your wrist against the open tap and you do not even flinch. She stares at you bewildered and probes further.

‘Your son has developed compartment syndrome in the same arm the surgery was done on,’ the doctor says

‘Hio ndio nini? (What is that?),’ your mother poses.

“the operation is called fasciotomy whereby we shall release the pressure in his arm. ‘ the doctor adds.

You wake up feeling groggy and disoriented and panic immediately when you see people in white coats and ill looking people around you. You’re in the ward. Your mother calms your anxiety and assures you that soon, you’ll be able to go back home. You smile tired and doze off into a deep sleep and the anaesthesia medication used intraoperatively, is still wearing off.

You wake up to find your bed surrounded by numerous people. You notice one of them looks like daktari mkubwa (consultant) and the rest are in lab coats and some in that uniform you’ve heard is worn by sisters. You cringe inwardly and cannot hide your terror. You sense a pungent smell and move as if in recoil but you notice the stench isn’t dissipating. Your eyes wander looking for what could be the source until they settle on your now larger than left arm that’s draped in gauzes. You wonder why your arm has increased in size and now stinks. You search for your mother’s reassuring face in vain. You start to sob. The consultant gently places his palm on the nape of your neck and strokes you as if to calm you. This works temporarily until your mother arrives and later on informs you with tears in her eyes that you’re going to have to go under the knife again. This time you let it all out and forget what they say about ‘men who cry not being men’ (ukilia we si mwanaume). This time you howl. You howl because all this is scary. The white walls, ill people, the white coats; they all make you want to jib the operation but you’re not an adult yet therefore none of these is upto you. What is being done to you is not upto you. It’s what your mother and the doctor think is best that will be done. You cry your lungs out and soon you’re out.

You wake to a feeling of emptiness where your right arm should be. You try to reach for the sheet that’s slightly left your knee to the stinging cold of the morning with no success. You cannot feel your arm. You remember vaguely being wheeled into the operating room because you remember the bright lights and being moved and people in what appeared to be a uniform of some sort.

You turn slowly and lie on your left side and this time, you stare down at where your arm should be as you try to support yourself by the elbow.

You freeze.

You stare down again and stay frozen with your eyes threatening to pop out of their sockets.

Out of denial, you force yourself to stare at where your arm should be. There is nothing. Zilch. You instead see dressing on what appears to be the stump.

Your right arm was amputated.

Your eyes suddenly meet your mother’s as you see her rush to you from the corridor in panic and tear filled eyes.

You feel your muscles give way. Everything goes black.

In summation, ANY amputation is traumatizing to the amputee. A child losing their arm in their early years is one of the most incapacitating things that can happen to them since play is an essential part of a child life. The unawareness of the effects of amputation by children at that age can fuel the psychological trauma in such a child and impair their holistic growth which may result in development of personality disorders and depression later in life therefore these children and all other victims of amputation need our support and care because healing goes beyond the medical bit as ones psychological well-being being is intricately related to the physical well-being.

They can ultimately procure prosthetic arms albeit they can cost an arm and a leg. This helps improve their quality of life and enable them leave as close to normal lives as their peers.

Ow! My eye!

Kids are playful. As a matter of fact, we encourage them to play because it contributes to their overall growth positively. You can attest to the fact that as a guardian, it’s pretty difficult to completely control the environment that kids play in so as to keep them from harm because they are as playful as kittens! You can baby proof the house but it’s not guarantee that harm won’t befall them so we hope that when they come back to the house, they’re as they left.

What happens when, let’s call this child Babu. Babu is your first born son. He is 9 years old and of course as playful as they come at that age.

You’re calmly seated in the house, watching TV and he rushes in tightly clutching onto his left eye screaming his lungs out. You panic and since the sight of blood makes you sick, you cross your fingers and hope there’s no blood especially from the eye! After about twenty minutes of howling, you know how children can be hyperbolic, he settles down a tad bit and loosens the grip on his left eye because his hand is aching now and as he focuses his attention on suckling his thumb, it allows you space to check his eye. You see strange redness on the side of his eye on the conjuctiva that wasn’t there when he left the house. You panic again but the crying has stopped now and your favorite show just started so you put Babu to sleep and go back to your show and convince yourself that he must have hit his forehead and not his eye.

Few weeks later, Babus’ eye appears as below ;

You panic and soon after that, Babu complains of decreased vision in his left eye which soon is completely blind. You wonder how someone so young can have this! Since the last time you saw a similar lesion in a person’s eye, it was grandpa. Shouldn’t it occur only in old age? You ponder. Between work, school and home, your schedule is packed but you take a few days off work to take him to the hospital.

‘Babu has what is called a Traumatic Cataract,’ the doctor calmly tells you at the clinic.

He explains further and informs you that cataracts can also occur after injury I. E. Trauma. Babu admits to having been hit at the side of his eye during a football game with his camaraderie.

Traumatic cataract is a clouding of the lens that may occur after either blunt or penetrating ocular trauma that disrupts the lens fibers. One can be born with it or it can occur after trauma amongst other causes.

“He needs to be scheduled for cataract surgery,” the doctor adds.

“Will he regain his sight after the surgery?” you probe.

“Yes.” he replies.

You finally sigh in relief.

God gave eyesight to the blind… So did the ophthalmologist 👀

Tampon or Menstrual cup?

If you’re like me then the impromptu tampon shortage disoriented you sooner than you could replenish your OB stock. Also, if you’re like me, who likes to shop for things when I need them, you probably woke up, on your periods, made a call to order for your OB only to be told hizo ob siku hizi hatustock ( we no longer stock ob) which is quite the messy situation to be in both literally and figuratively.

I have used tampons for more than 5 years and I can tell you I’ve never wanted a different option. Most people go on and on about how they cannot fathom the insertion process or how it must feel weird walking around with something inside you or how they’d never use tampons ever in their life. These claims are not true. After insertion of the tampon, one does not feel a thing while conducting their daily activities also, before insertion of the tampon, one is allowed to lubricate it to easen the process in addition, the normal vaginal secretions help evade extreme discomfort during insertion. In hindsight, I never got around to liking the mundane sanitary towels – Always etcetera. I always felt like I was walking around wearing a pamper and the uneven pigmentation on the skin around the genitalia that results can cause one cosmetic issues. Other than that, I have nothing against sanitary towels but once you go the tampon way, there’s no turning back.

This is my preferred tampon for use(ob with a yellow streak) unlike its counterpart, ob with an orange streak which is usually a bit thicker hence more discomfort on attempted insertion. I’d recommend the ob with an orange streak for heavy flow, it works best. The oh with a yellow streak is comfortable and of average size that’s comfortable to insert and just like sanitary towels, you can get whichever suits your flow i.e. Heavy, normal flow
The strings stays outside the vagina after insertion for ease of removal.
Pads or Tampons?

Tampons ➡️➡️Menstrual cups?

I recall washing my hands after about an hour of tampon hunting in supermarkets and chemists after which I got on Jumia and searched menstrual cups. Most of the menstrual cups on Jumia are extremely affordable contrary to what you might be thinking but they are global items. We have menstrual cups being sold by recent startups in Kenya but they are yet to pick up in Kenya hence the pricing is ten fold more than the global option.

A menstrual cup is a product that is inserted into the vagina during menstruation. Its purpose is to prevent menstrual fluid (blood from uterine lining) from leaking onto clothes.

Unlike tampons and pads, cups collect menstrual fluid rather than absorbing it.

One cup is reusable for up to five years or more. This makes their long-term cost lower than that of disposable tampons or pads, though the initial cost is higher. Menstrual cups are also promoted as more practical and eco-friendly than pads and tampons. Given that the menstrual cup is reusable, its use greatly decreases the amount of waste generated from menstrual cycles, as there is no daily waste and the amount of discarded packaging decreases as well.

Most menstrual cup brands sell a smaller and a larger size.

Menstrual cups are sold colorless and translucent, but several brands also offer colored cups, such as pink or purple.

The use of menstrual cups is considered a safe option relative to other forms of menstrual hygiene.

Menstrual cups are the best option after tampons as highlighted above. Unlike tampons, Menstrual cups do not carry the risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) which one of the major adverse effects of prolonged tampon wear(more than 8-12hrs) and can be life threatening if not treated promptly.

On Jumia,

BUY NOW

Delivery fee inclusive =538/=
If you pick it up yourself =338/=

The Kenyan menstrual cup goes for an average of 3000 Kenya shillings. After enquiry, Tuskys kisumu have their cups going for 2000 Kenya shilling. On Jumia one can always find discounts that being the one of the major merits of shopping on Jumia.

The Grace Cup =1999
Inclusive of delivery = 2199

BUY NOW

Without the delivery fee = 1999

We both know the choice I went for at the end.

Personally, I’d recommend use of a menstrual cup in the place of a tampon. The overall cost is cheaper albeit the initial cost can be high, reusable (you can use it for 3 upto 5 yrs) and just like the tampon, is it portable and depending on your flow, you can wear it for upto 12hrs!

Lastly, from experience, order yours early enough before your menses hit again! Pads can be very unreliable especially when you’re used to tampons!

Die Empty

You grew up in your beautiful, green village back at home even though you want everyone to think you grew up in the city. On some fast days, you miss the comfort of your welcoming bed back at home and the fresh air and all the love from your family. On other days, you have a flashbacks of the journey that your life has now become. you recall engaging with your friends in banter about how you wanted to become like baba Otieno who was regarded highly by the community for being an engineer. Well, now you know that he was only a mechanic but still you so badly wanted to become like him- highly regarded, successful and with fuller pockets than the next person. You talked about it severally with kina Mike and Onyango but deep down you never fully thought it possible. You dreamt anyway.

At your local primary school, every teacher took a keen interest on you because your parents were well known in the village your mother being a principal in a secondary school not far away from home. Nothing less than excellent was expected so amidst all the reprimanding and viboko you found the hidden courage inside you. The courage to dare to dream and to believe in the dream and yourself. That you are capable. You did not know it then but the struggle to wake up a little early and sleep a little late just to study a tad more contributed greatly to who you were becoming.

Now you are in your 5th year in school of engineering in the University of Nairobi lying on your fairly neat bed in your little crib not far off campus and all that seems like a lifetime away. You no longer talk to your parents as often as you used to. you know you should but lately your voices sound hollow and strange to each other over the phone as if you’re in different worlds. Papa is elderly now so is mum and they no longer have the energy to push you around. They often talk of how education is the best investment you can make in your child and you couldn’t agree more but the spark is lost. The close connection you shared with them growing up has dissipated and weariness has felt in because every attempt to restore the intimacy is met with awkwardness and unbearable gaps of silence. You washed your hands years ago and decided to let the sleeping dogs lie.

You forcefully close your eyes and try to picture that small boy who went around the village trying to fix everyone’s broken machinery which pragmatically meant putting apart every part and then getting frantic about putting it back together but its a good thing they all understood your the passion you had so mama Agnes always gave you broken items. A broken radio or that bike that Agnes’ big brother used to ride while you were little that had not been used in years. It hits you that they majorly contributed to making this once far away dream a reality. You make a mental note to call Agnes and get her mothers number so you can officially thank her. this, you know you will not do but you lie to yourself about doing it just to feel better about the person you have become. You are no longer the dilligent boy that everyone praised you to be, you have grown lazy, unmotivated and impossible to deal with. Perhaps that is why mama and papa distanced themselves from you. You literally shake your head to get rid of that thought because you always were their golden boy. You refuse to think that they would be happier without constantly thinking about you. After all, aren’t you their first born? The hope and light of the family?

You will wake up one day and you will be 40 and still postponing that visit to see your mother despite the fact that your father passed away while you were on an important business trip and you never made it to his burial. Now your mother has been sick and the best you do is send her money for her medication and keep lying through your teeth about going home. You no longer advocate for peoples right or volunteer for community service. you started a blog back in second year and for a year or two you were on a roll! You then forgot why you began writing in the first place and you ditched writing.

You only exist now.

You no longer have the comfort of immortality that writing could have given you. in the place of big dreams, high expectations and tremendous courage to achieve lies broken dreams, disappointment and shame.

You will die soon. Will you die empty? Have you given of yourself enough to boldly accept your sunset years without remorse?


The problem is, we think we have time.

TICK, TOCK… Time is up.

Frankly, it is beyond up.

I’d recommend a book called On the shortness of life by Seneca written 2000years ago. Here’s a quote by the wise Seneca;

It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it. Life is long enough, and a sufficiently generous amount has been given to us for the highest achievements if it were all well invested. But when it is wasted in heedless luxury and spent on no good activity, we are forced at last by death’s final constraint to realise that it has passed away before we knew it was passing. So it is: we are not given a short life but we make it short, and we are are not ill-supplied but wasteful of it.”

“Many pursue no fixed goal, but are tossed about by ever changing designs by a fickleness which is shifting in-constant and never satisfied with itself. Some have no aims at all for their life’s course, but death takes them unawares as they yawn languidly – so much so that I cannot doubt the truth of that oracular remark of the greatest of poets: ‘It is a small part of life we really live.’ Indeed, all the rest is not life but merely time.”

What’s the worst that could happen to you?

Do not be afraid of anything. As long as you’re not incapacitated then you can facing anything head on is what my very good friend said to me a day ago over the long phone call we had.

I felt that.

A while back, during one of our neurology tutorials, we presented a patient with a cerebrovascular accident. She was ostensibly immobilized and most of her basic functions diminished for instance she could neither walk nor feed herself leave alone turn sides if sleeping on one side hurt. My heart bled for her. When you’re so used to conducting your daily activities on your own that you cannot fathom helplessness which is practically each and every one of us, then a stroke hits you hard and in all the wrong places. I kept wondering, where do their minds wander to the whole time they lie there helpless? Could it be that they do try to talk only to have to words or no vocal muscles coordination result in frustration we’re oblivious of? What happens to your will to live when you lie there, a vegetable, unable to perform a task as simple as hold a cup? What keeps these people going?

You cannot dare to wish to be incapacitated. It’s a living nightmare, literally.

I had called my friend and went on the ubiquitous rant about exams being exams when she told me this. It got to me because we very much take for granted the automated things that our body does like breathing, walking, smiling, defecating, urinating. Can you imagine what it would be like if from this moment you were unable to defecate? Say you woke up and as usual went to the toilet and you waited unsuccessfully, then you tried exerting force thinking that perhaps you’re constipated again, unsuccessfully. You put on your pants and make a mental note to try defecating again later, perhaps tomorrow after you’ve hydrated. Tomorrow morning dawns and you can feel your abdomen distending and a feeling of uneasiness is settling in because you don’t joke with food! You’re quite the enthusiastic eater. This time you stay in the toilet for a whole 20 mins trying to push your intestinal content out in vain. You get concerned but since you’re bashed about being unable to do something as natural as defecate, you put off your visit to the doctor and make a mental note to try defecate again over lunch at work. Which of course, fails again.

Two people I know recently has facial nerve palsy. These full of smiles people, suddenly, had blank faces. It can be and it is a traumatizing experience. To be unable to keep food in your mouth and instead have it slip out of your mouth as you watch! To find yourself drool like a baby with cerebral palsy. Are you taking your ability to smile for granted?

What would you do if you could not walk? If suddenly your left leg cannot simply step in front of the right and you have to literally drag it along with your hands. It’s scary, isn’t it? So, after a lot of deep thinking about what my friend told me, I realized that it is true. As long as you’re not incapacitated, you can face anything head on.

So stop fretting and making excuses and be grateful that your diaphragm can move in response to inspiration and expiration without leaving you gasping for air in despair.

BOOK REVIEW 001: Life á la Mode by Linda Lenhoff

Genre: Fiction

Place: Printed in U. S. A.

Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation

Publication date: © 2003

Pages: 268

Price: U. S. $6.99

Canada $9.99

To get this book fast

ISBN: 0-7582-0972-X

Thirty is a mind gobbling age. One is lost between what they know about themselves and self-discovery. Realizing their fears, aspirations and more fears. It is confusing and scary.

At thirty, our main character Holly, a science production editor, is divorced(having been married at 22 and divorced at 26), relatively happy as she puts it during a rant to her ex-husband Josh, “I’m not sure I’m incredibly happy these days, but I’m not too unhappy. I’m relatively happy. I’m okay. I have my little apartment and soft clothes. I have a kitty postcard on my fridge.” who she describes as, “…a badly dressed mathematician.. ‘ earlier on and she takes joy in the little things in her life like opening junk mail which she finds a good substitute for dating as dates don’t make you eligible for prize money or vacation condos, sewing her curtains, painting her apartment chores she never gets done and prides herself in getting anything done.

She has a gorgeous younger sister, Janie who unlike her, pays attention to what she wears, rocks heels like a model and is always punctual to their lunch dates with their mom and has got expensive taste. Holly finds herself taking joy in wearing old sweaters, leggings and sleeping in baggy gray t-shirts that she’s not sure belongs to her or her ex husband Josh, “I try to straighten out my old gray ripped t-shirt, which I think used to be Josh’s or maybe he stole it from me before I stole it from him.”

When her ex husband announces that he’s remarrying and her sister Janie is getting engaged for the 7th time, “when your sister gets engaged for the sixth time, you should not have to listen to her story. Let her tell a stranger. That’s what subways are for.” and her office fling with her workmate Tom comes to an end she finds turning 31 a tad bit overwhelming and all these fleeting emotions bombard her and her being her, she uses humor with her best friend Maria to distract themselves from their real problems.

My favorite character was Gran, albeit mentioned briefly during their weekend with Maria at the MaryAnn Spa. She is far into her eighties and everything you expect her not to be. She is vibrant, daring, she has a blue-and-gray punk haircut, prodding and humorous. In the mineral bath, “Why don’t you girls tell us about your love lives,” Gran says. You’d think the hot water might make her sleepy, but no. Gran pushes Holly to analyze her relationship with her ex husband which she usually avoids and it actually helps. When Holly mentions that she’s still friends with Holly one of the women probes, “You still see him?” but gran interjects, “you still sleep with him?” then turns to the other woman, “No sense in being shy.” She is boisterous and an embodiment of living life to its fullest.

I find Holly very relatable as a character for instance when she says, “I’ve finished with my exercise for today, which involves going downstairs to get the mail.” Albeit she is way past her twenties, she struggles with working out and diets as we all do since she doesn’t find them to be her thing. She instead indulges in pies with á la mode (ice cream on top) severally with her best friend Maria.

I enjoyed reading this book, reading Holly’s thoughts that occupied most of the book although the ending was a bit mundane for me and I feel like Maria and Holly took their sense of humor overboard in an attempt to mask their true emotions.

I’d recommend this book to every woman out there most especially those who are going through a time in their life where nothing seems certain and it’s almost like a daze day in day out. Same job, same apartment, same faces but still finding the joyous, satisfactory little moments in between.