Great Reads by Midlife Women

This month’s reviews: A Secret Currency of Love, Welcome to the Departure Lounge, and Nothing Right.
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The Secret Currency of Love, edited by Hilary Black (William Morrow)

In this anthology, Black tackles what she calls the last taboo: a woman’s relationship with money. Dani Shapiro is in disbelief when her mother creates a generation-skipping trust; Ann Hood explains the virtues of not sharing a bank account with her spouse; 25 more authors reveal economic intimacies.

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Welcome to the Departure Lounge, by Meg Federico (Random House)

When the author’s mother, 81, and stepfather, 82, get home care (both have dementia), Federico becomes the reluctant participant in a kind of "Geriatrics Gone Wild" episode. Her parents’ antics include ordering cases of Scotch and sex toys, and climbing inside a fireplace to light the gas. Although she portrays her parents comically, this is a poignant memoir.

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Nothing Right, by Antonya Nelson (Bloomsbury)

Families are the focus of these 11 insightful stories. In "Falsetto," a woman’s fraught relationship with her brother erupts anew when their parents are hospitalized after an accident. And in the title story, a mother and son grow closer when he becomes a father at age 15. These aren’t happy stories, but Nelson’s bittersweet humor and hopeful characters are a delight.

Originally published in MORE magazine, February 2009.

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