I See You Made an Effort (Compliments, Indignities, and Survival Stories from the Edge of 50)

cover60530-mediumAuthor: Annabelle Gurwitch

Publisher: PENGUIN GROUP Plume

Rating: 4 stars

Buy Links: Amazon

Type: Novel 

Received from Publisher


Blurb:  “Annabelle Gurwitch is the child prodigy of the literature on aging. The only downside of this book is that it is bound to deepen your laugh lines.” —Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Nickel and Dimed

Actor and humorist Annabelle Gurwitch returns with a wickedly funny book of essays about the indignities faced by femmes d’un certain âge. Whether she is falling in lust at the Genius Bar, coping with her best friend’s assisted suicide, or navigating the extensive—and treacherously expensive—anti-aging offerings at the beauty counter, Gurwitch confronts middle age with candor, wit, and a healthy dose of self-deprecation. Scorchingly honest, surreally and riotously funny, I See You Made an Effort is the ultimate coming-of-middle-age story and according to Bill Maher, “it should be required reading for anyone between the ages of 40 and death. Scratch that- even after death, it’s a must read.”


Review: This laugh-out-loud memoir reads like a diary I’d find in my night table drawer, but she’s waaay funnier. Annabelle Gurwitch, who’s “roughly” my age, finds herself in the same situation: hitting the half century mark, still raising teens in the house, trying to battle wrinkles, and trying to figure out how to dress for her age and figure. It’s a battle trying to choose lifestyle choices in this new century. Thank goodness we’ve found a guide…

Read universal stories about middle age women who would have an affair except we’d have to show our aging body to someone new; the desperate search for the perfect under-eye concealer no matter what the cost; the symptoms of menopause and how they make us and our families crazy; and the twenty-first centuries attempt at child-rearing, or trying to befriend your teenage son–and you’ll be reading the stories of “everymom,” victims of the late 60’s and early 70’s Gloria Steinam, feminist-filled, “You can have it all!” generation. We actually believed it, and waited to have our children in our mid to late thirties…or o’dark thirty, as I like to refer to it as.

What makes this book singular, though, is the memories that Annabelle has as a former actress and the celebrity lifestyle, making her adventures ring larger than life. Comparing her younger self acting in movies to her older self valiantly struggling to make residuals in a commercial that ultimately failed is hilarious yet a sign of the struggle in Hollywood that older actresses face daily. Describing her forays into meditation, an early cult crisis, her parent’s aging and moving into a smaller home–while I may not have done the cult, I’ve experienced the meditation and parental aging. Close enough to feel a bond, yet far enough apart to enjoy the difference.

I enjoyed this snark-filled look at aging, loaded with stories that were specific to this author but were still universal enough that we could all relate. Read it if it applies to you, you’ll certainly find something in it to make you laugh! Thanks.

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