Monday, November 14, 2011

A Slot Machine Ate My Midlife Crisis (eBook)

Irene Woodbury
SynergEbooks (2011)
ISBN 9780744314977
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views

A few months from now I will be turning forty-five. Having suffered through the mid-life crises of two men, I figured it is my turn to have a good one.   For me a good mid-life crisis doesn't involve betraying anybody, it just involves buying a brightly colored sports car with a big engine. However, the cost of gas is so high right now my practical side is thinking of just dying my hair red again and renting a Corvette to drive up the Pacific Coast Highway.

Already forty-five years old, newlywed Wendy is facing a pretty major mid-life crisis. Hers actually extends into a total identity crisis.  Having dated her husband Roger for seven years, and only recently marrying him, she finds herself uprooted and unemployed. Sharing an idyllic life in Los Angeles; each had their own career. When Roger's career involves accepting a dream job in Houston, Wendy readily agrees to sell her condo and move with him. Recently unemployed, she is not leaving behind any prospects. However, shortly after they arrive in Houston, Roger turns into a major workaholic. 

Losing her identity as a career woman, being ignored and living in a home with critters and other problems, Wendy does not settle in easily.  While Roger is eager to become a part of high society in Houston, Wendy does not enjoy the snooty women who she feels pass judgment on her.  When an opportunity arises for her to go away to Las Vegas for five days, Wendy jumps on it. Feeling the honeymoon is over after less than four months, part of her feels disappointed that she is looking to get away from her husband.

After spending five crazy days with her friend Paula, that include a wedding being cancelled because of Paula's indiscretion with the groom, Wendy finds life in Las Vegas, crazy, but she is also enjoying massive amounts of food, retail therapy, and spa treatments. She has also made some eccentric new friends.  When it is time to return home, Wendy bolts from the airport and begins living her own life in Sin City.
While she tells Roger that she is just staying on for a little while longer, she actually doesn't know when she will be home. As weeks turn into months, Roger's frustrations at not having his wife with him cause many arguments. The communication between them becomes sporadic. Meanwhile Wendy begins building a life for herself that also involves achieving some of her career dreams. 

Fighting her attraction to some charismatic men, she is determined to stay faithful while she figures out what she is going to do.  Wendy has to decide whether or not she wants to be a wife and live in a place where she will see little of her husband and be miserable, or continue on with a rewarding career that helps her make headlines.
While Wendy's decision result in her making extreme changes in her life, I suspect that there are a lot of middle-aged married women out there who fantasize about doing what she has done.  Unlike Wendy, many of these women probably married their high school sweethearts and never had a chance to establish their own identities. Circumstances caused Wendy's identity to be taken from her, and her desire to reinvent herself, based upon her terms, does not mesh well with her role as a wife.  Wendy's dilemma is tough, especially since she has a husband that loves her but is waiting for her to return to his world.

I found "A Slot Machine Ate My Midlife Crisis" to contain both humor and drama.  The eccentric characters and the crazy Las Vegas lifestyle added a great deal of enjoyment to the story.  The dilemma faced by the main character is very complicated, yet I feel there are readers who will find themselves relating to it, perhaps just on a smaller scale. I recommend this novel to all midlife-crisis aged women!

Read interview with Irene Woodbury