I just could not wait to read Lots of Candles and Plenty of Cake and pre-ordered it for my KINDLE. Anna Quindlen is an author that I enjoy reading very much although when she was doing her parenting columns I was still reading Erma Bombeck.
This book has a number of humorous interludes but Lots of Candles and Plenty Cake is more about embracing turning 60 and finding lots to love about living. There is an element of memoir to this book of essays also.
“Get yourself a personal trainer.”
Her hindsight about the early parenting years and how generations have survived, coped and figured it out is a rather astute analysis of how we made it through the tough times and the loneliness and yet truly enjoyed our choices and taking on those tasks. Being there for our children, working and trying desperately to not lose the sense of self that made us who we are section was full of wonderful and creative examples of how the women of a certain age coped with the expectations of doing it all.
“ …we didn’t want to admit that trying to balance a couple of challenging full-time jobs was kind of a stretch. We were all a little crazy and a little sad and a little confused. And we all thought it was just us. That’s what makes life so hard for women, that instead of thinking that this is the way things are, we always think it’s the way we are.”
Lots of Candles and Plenty of Cake does not skip over the worries about heath and finances and how to plan for the unknown. I just felt a sense of release when Quindlen discussed the Resume Gap because I truly thought I was rather alone in this problem; having spent too much time out of the even half time work force/career to be taken seriously by anyone. It was a bit hit and run because that is not the author’s experience and yet it was not ignored.
“The most liberated generation of women in American history, raised on the notion that they could be much more than caregivers, became caregivers cubed.”
Quindlen definitely hits the mark when she talks about health and working at it while enjoying just who you are. After the discussion of the foot pain, new glasses, and blood pressure medications none of the women in her circle would change who they are now and consider this stage the best they have experienced. There were no votes for do-overs even though they now understood parenting and working and balance – oh yes, that advice we are always trying to share!
“They can’t hear it because it’s in a different language, a language we learn over time, the language of experience cut with failure, triumph, and tedium.”
I think if I write any more, I will need to copy and post this entire book. I cannot recommend it highly enough and I hope every woman I know will find themselves with a copy in hand and a smile on their face. I am going to read it again right away – it gave me so much pleasure and some fresh wisdom to just enjoy.
Do you have a book of wisdom that just delights you and speaks to you like this group of essays spoke to me? Please share it with all the readers in the comments section. Thank you