Elevate Difference

Leap Days: Chronicles of a Midlife Move

Given the choice between staying where your career, friends, home and loved ones are and moving to a large city where you knew no one, what would you pick? Lucky for readers, Katherine Lanpher chose the latter.

Lanpher, a newspaper reporter and radio host, grew up in Illinois and made her journalistic mark in Minnesota. Among other notable achievements, she was the first female metro columnist at the St. Paul Pioneer Press. In her late 40s, she traded her Midwest life for a new one in the Big Apple, and went to work for Al Franken and Air America. This book is the chronicle of her first year in New York, along with some fascinating autobiographical narratives.

To start with, Lanpher's writing style is addictive, which makes her stories all that more engaging. And for anyone who has moved to New York from another part of the country, reading about her becoming a New Yorker is that much more hilarious. But whether you've lived there or you haven't, you'll laugh your head off when reading about how Lanpher learns how to bribe the superintendent of her building and swear at bad drivers while she traverses the city on her bicycle. You'll be pissed when a snotty clerk informs her that she doesn't carry clothing larger than size 8. You'll be outraged when she recounts her experiences in the testosterone-filled newsrooms, and want to shout, "Bravo!" when you read her retorts to sexist comments. (I won't spoil that part; go out and get the book!)

The part I loved most about this book is that Lanpher is a feminist, and proud of it. She doesn't hide her disdain for women who don't appreciate those who forged the trail for the rest of us.

Add that to the fact that she's one of them, and deserves her moment in the spotlight. But she's refreshingly humble, as well. Her experiences may be extraordinary, but Lanpher comes across as self-deprecating and down-to-earth.

Written by: M.L. Madison, March 2nd 2007

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