Why we can't sleep Women's new midlife crisis

Ada Calhoun

Book - 2020

"When Ada Calhoun found herself in the throes of a midlife crisis, she thought that she had no right to complain. She was married with children and a good career. So why did she feel miserable? And why did it seem that other Generation X women were miserable, too? Calhoun decided to find some answers. She looked into housing costs, HR trends, credit card debt averages, and divorce data. At every turn, she saw a pattern: sandwiched between the Boomers and the Millennials, Gen X women were fa...cing new problems as they entered middle age, problems that were being largely overlooked. Speaking with women across America about their experiences as the generation raised to "have it all," Calhoun found that most were exhausted, terrified about money, underemployed, and overwhelmed. Instead of their issues being heard, they were told instead to lean in, take "me-time," or make a chore chart to get their lives and homes in order. In Why We Can't Sleep, Calhoun opens up the cultural and political contexts of Gen X's predicament and offers solutions for how to pull oneself out of the abyss-and keep the next generation of women from falling in. The result is reassuring, empowering, and essential reading for all middle-aged women, and anyone who hopes to understand them"--

Saved in:

Bookmobile Nonfiction Show me where

305.42/Calhoun
1 / 1 copies available

2nd Floor Show me where

305.42/Calhoun
4 / 4 copies available
Location Call Number   Status
Bookmobile Nonfiction 305.42/Calhoun Checked In
2nd Floor 305.42/Calhoun Checked In
2nd Floor 305.42/Calhoun Checked In
2nd Floor 305.42/Calhoun Checked In
2nd Floor 305.42/Calhoun Checked In
Subjects
Published
New York : Grove Press 2020.
Edition
First Grove Atlantic edition
Language
English
Physical Description
xii, 267 pages ; 22 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references.
ISBN
9780802147851
0802147852
9781611854671
1611854679
Main Author
Ada Calhoun (author)
  • Possibilities create pressure
  • The doldrums
  • The caregiving rack
  • Job instability
  • Money panic
  • Decision fatigue
  • Single, childless
  • After the divorce
  • Perimenopause
  • The very filtered profile picture
  • New narratives
  • Appendix: a midlife crisis mixtape.
Review by Booklist Reviews

Calhoun (Wedding Toasts I'll Never Give, 2017) hit a nerve when she published the Oprah.com article The New Midlife Crisis in 2017. Consulting hundreds of women, doctors, therapists, and other experts, she expands on that viral article in this deep-dive into the present situation for middle-class Gen X women (born 1965 to 1980). Alongside her subjects' own words (mostly anonymous), Calhoun shares her personal experiences and research on the economic, historic, and health factors affecting Gen X in chapters arranged by topics like money, divorce, and perimenopause. A scene-setting idea is that Gen X women were the first expected to truly have it all—an enormous pressure on its own. An assured, affable guide, Calhoun balances bleakness with humor and the hope inherent in sharing stories that will make other women feel less alone. She also gives good advice for finding support through midlife hardship. This is a conversation starter (as well as a no-brainer for book groups that count Gen X women among their members) that might get Boomer and Millennial readers curious, too. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Choice Reviews

Countless articles and books have been written about the Baby Boomer and Millennial cohorts, but Generation X, the small cohort of now-midlife adults born between 1965 and 1980, has generated far less ink. In this meticulously researched and vividly written book, Calhoun digs deep into the inner lives of Gen X women, exploring why today's midlife women, raised with unbounded hopes fueled by the feminist movement, are so exhausted and disappointed. Weaving together insightful interviews with Gen X women, observations from popular culture, and rigorous empirical studies, Calhoun offers insights into women's worries about finances, work-family balance, caregiving, health, and menopause and aging—concerns that cannot be adequately addressed by quick-fix and shallow recommendations like life hacks and "me time." Calhoun rightfully argues that solutions require structural, political, and economic changes. Most important, a new cultural narrative is needed, one that quashes the myth of "having it all" and "doing it all" and instead involves adapting expectations to realities facing women today. Why We Can't Sleep is required reading for all women who fear that they are not doing enough and for the friends, family, and colleagues who rely on them. Summing Up: Essential. All readers.--D. S. Carr, Boston UniversityDeborah Suzanne CarrBoston University Deborah Suzanne Carr Choice Reviews 58:02 October 2020 Copyright 2020 American Library Association.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

For women experiencing the signs of midlife, this book by Calhoun (Wedding Toasts I'll Never Give) collects stories relating to mental health, especially depression and anxiety, along with issues such as financial insecurity, job instability, parenting, caregiving, divorce, and other concerns that might prevent someone from getting a restful night's sleep. Built on personal narratives and research-based data, chapters focus on themes such as success, including what it means to be successful and the cost of achieving personal and professional success. Specifically looking at Generation X women, Calhoun asks why she and others continue to feel miserable despite traditional markers of success, such as children and a good career. Her research offers women ways to look at but not devalue their own experiences; she addresses the fact that women often minimize their own struggles instead of recognizing how their lack of sleep, along with other physical and mental pressures, constitute legitimate crises in their own right. VERDICT Calhoun's latest will be useful for those interested in feminist theory, especially insofar as it intersects with age and class, as well as a useful resource for people struggling to find balance in their personal and professional lives.—Emily Bowles, Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison Copyright 2019 Library Journal.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Memoirist Calhoun (Wedding Toasts I'll Never Give) explores the stresses keeping Gen X women up at night (both literally and metaphorically) in this bracing, empowering study. As women born between 1965 and 1980 enter middle age, Calhoun writes, they face "a gauntlet of anxieties" related to their status as "the Jan Brady of generations," sandwiched between older baby boomers and younger millennials. Interviewing middle-class American women she met through friends, social media, and in doctors' waiting rooms and other random encounters, Calhoun discusses worries about money ("Gen X has more debt than any other generation"), divorce ("our generation are the beta tested victims of the Boomers' record-high divorce rate"), and caring for young children and ailing parents simultaneously ("the caretaking rack"). She shares her own experiences as well as data from the Center for Economic and Policy Research and Harvard's Equality of Opportunity Project, among other sources. Despite all the damning statistics ("one in four middle-aged American women is on antidepressants") and real-life reports of exhaustion, ennui, and husbands who go on ski trips instead of paying the electric bill, Calhoun persuasively reassures Gen X women that they can find a way out of their midlife crises by "facing up to our lives as they really are." Women of every generation will find much to relate to in this humorous yet pragmatic account. Agent: Daniel Greenberg, Levine Greenberg Rostan Literary Agency. (Jan.) Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

The award-winning author of Wedding Toasts I’ll Never Give presents a generation-defining exploration of the impossible standards being imposed on middle-aged Generation X women and what the author recommends to avoid burnout.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

"When Ada Calhoun found herself in the throes of a midlife crisis, she thought that she had no right to complain. She was married with children and a good career. So why did she feel miserable? And why did it seem that other Generation X women were miserable, too? Calhoun decided to find some answers. She looked into housing costs, HR trends, credit card debt averages, and divorce data. At every turn, she saw a pattern: sandwiched between the Boomers and the Millennials, Gen X women were facing new problems as they entered middle age, problems that were being largely overlooked. Speaking with women across America about their experiences as the generation raised to "have it all," Calhoun found that most were exhausted, terrified about money, underemployed, and overwhelmed. Instead of their issues being heard, they were told instead to lean in, take "me-time," or make a chore chart to get their lives and homes in order. In Why We Can't Sleep, Calhoun opens up the cultural and political contexts of Gen X's predicament and offers solutions for how to pull oneself out of the abyss-and keep the next generation of women from falling in. The result is reassuring, empowering, and essential reading for all middle-aged women, and anyone who hopes to understand them"--

Review by Publisher Summary 3

An instant New York Times bestseller—lauded by critics and TV personalities alike—and one of the most anticipated books of the year, Ada Calhoun’s Why We Can’t Sleep> has ignited an essential conversation about the midlife realities faced by Gen X women, the generation raised to “have it all.”

Review by Publisher Summary 4

A generation-defining exploration of the new midlife crisis facing Gen X women and the unique circumstances that have brought them to this point, Why We Can’t Sleep is a lively successor to Passages by Gail Sheehy and The Defining Decade by Meg JayWhen Ada Calhoun found herself in the throes of a midlife crisis, she thought that she had no right to complain. She was married with children and a good career. So why did she feel miserable? And why did it seem that other Generation X women were miserable, too?Calhoun decided to find some answers. She looked into housing costs, HR trends, credit card debt averages, and divorce data. At every turn, she saw a pattern: sandwiched between the Boomers and the Millennials, Gen X women were facing new problems as they entered middle age, problems that were being largely overlooked.Speaking with women across America about their experiences as the generation raised to “have it all,” Calhoun found that most were exhausted, terrified about money, under-employed, and overwhelmed. Instead of being heard, they were told instead to lean in, take “me-time,” or make a chore chart to get their lives and homes in order.In Why We Can’t Sleep, Calhoun opens up the cultural and political contexts of Gen X’s predicament and offers solutions for how to pull oneself out of the abyss—and keep the next generation of women from falling in. The result is reassuring, empowering, and essential reading for all middle-aged women, and anyone who hopes to understand them.