The Late Bloomer's Revolution
Cute chick + NYC + media job + boyfriend troubles + comedically quirky friends and family + insipid metaphors + lightbulb moment resolution = book deal! Next, it will surely be opening at a multiplex near you.
This read was so formulaic I had to remind myself that The Late Bloomer's Revolution is actually a memoir, not fictitious chick lit. We all know too well the irritating law of chick lit bestsellerdom: a free-spirited, but still safely conventional, damsel must learn to balance career, relationship, and self-esteem in the glamorous paradise of the Big Apple while watching out for charming, narcissistic, Prada-clad snakes! To make sure I did not forget this book's classification come review-writing time, I actually stuck a yellow sticky flag under the very, very lightly printed "A Memoir" that appears teeny-tiny over the author's very, very boldfaced name.
Perhaps it's because I truly love a deeply moving memoir that I find a book like this one to be a fluffball wafting around in a genre that once had at least a couple of anti-glib gatekeepers. However snobby and cranky that might sound, let me add that Amy Cohen's sharply observant, empathic, and witty writing style somewhat refreshes this 'single and scared silly' story, which turns out to be a securely strapped-in ride on the bourgeois emotional roller coaster. (Big Daddy always hovers in the background like a safety net).
The story opens with one of the book's best characters: Amy's wonderfully wise, laugh-out-loud funny and intellectually curious mother. Unfortunately, she and her fantastically original dialogue exit the stage all too soon, struck down by cancer. At the same time as her mother's death, Amy suffers through the loss of Josh, the man she thought she was going to marry, who ends up marrying a cartoon femme with the requisite big boobs. As the story continues, regular gal, imperfectly attired, small bosomed Amy's woes are compounded with the loss of her job as a television writer, several terrible dating experiences, and a crummy, dark, claustrophic apartment.
Amy's journey toward adult independence begins in her mid-thirties. She suddenly finds that it's time for her to learn to confront fears and take charge of her life—alone... as a woman... alone... in the lipstick jungle... alone... without a diamond ring on her finger. Did I mention, alone? So what does our heroine do? She learns how to ride a bike. For Amy, bike riding (a pat metaphor for balance) is a major phobia, having never learned as an urban-bred child. The realization here is that Amy is still able to enjoy life without being married because she conquered one big fear.
Less a journey through profound grief (which would have been a richer story), The Late Bloomer's Revolution anchors itself with a fear of spinsterhood, insidiously fostering this fear. Entertaining and well-written, yes. Will you like plucky Amy? Definitely! Will you forget this novel-memoir as soon as you put it down? Unfortunately, I think so.