Book synopsis “ A Degree of Change””
The central character Serena is facing a crisis in her life, at the age of 45 her once stunning good looks are fading fast, her hair is thinning, her face is wrinkling, her teeth are yellowing and her waist is thickening fast. To make matters worse, Serena has sought solace in the oldest brain numbing, waist expanding, depression, inducing trick in the book, the excessive consumption of ‘Chablis’.
She has two extremely beautiful teenage daughters, that she has passed her very fortunate set of genes onto, when she looks at them she realises how sad, futile and ultimately self destructing the cosmetic surgery path is. She makes her mind up firmly never to go down that route, as she is clever enough to realise no amount of money can bring back her youth and vitality.
Her once affluent middle class life style has collapsed around her, since her childhood sweetheart, but rather abusive husband of the last 22 years lost his financial investment business in the crash of September 2007.
The private tennis lessons, charity lunches and bitchy boarding school mums, coffee mornings have all come to an end. Partly to the relief of Serena, who increasingly views that pre 2007 world of greed, avarice and excess with great contempt, flakiness and ultimately shallow and unrewarding.
Her job of running the family is becoming somewhat extinct, now that her daughters have left for university. She reflects upon her decision years ago to give up her job and independence to be a stay at home mother and wife, as maybe very much the worst decision she ever made. She’s acutely aware she can’t turn back the clock; Serena now finds herself left with an empty nest and a very distant, seldom sober husband with no money.
As Serena ages, with the prospect of little money and unable to rely on her looks, whilst also approaching the menopause. She embarks on one of the most fulfilling journeys and relationships of her life so far.
With both of her daughters left home and her husband in a spiralling decent of self denial and alcoholism, and a set of social behavioural problems out-dated and frowned upon in modern society, Serena rises like a phoenix from the ashes and undertakes a degree in psychology. Whilst doing so she meets a lecturer at university 10 years older than her, who introduces her to the principles of Buddhism.
A large party is planned for her 50th birthday at the good old Rugby club where her husband Mike has spent most of his social life since being 15 years old. Everyone is to attend even her old arch enemy and rival from the tennis club Belinda Big Tits!! But at the very last minute when they’re all waiting to surprise her in the dark with a huge cake, and one of the young studs from the rugby club about to spring out of it. Serena doesn’t turn up, she is on a plane, on her way to a Buddhist retreat in Burma with her new love Dr Deakin to chant, pray and meditate and begin her new life. A life that will be ultimately based on the foundations of rock, and not sand as in the past, that so easily washes away with time!
The book is infused with some degree of humour. In order to lighten the way it examines the value and respect afforded to older woman in western society. It touches on how they can live the final third of their lives in a fulfilling and enriching manner. When they are no longer able to procreate and their external beauty is diminishing. However they can then concentrate on themselves and Serena finds a loving, lasting romantic meaningful relationship, and ends happy ever after.
It also address’s the question as to whether we are meant to be with the same person for the rest of our lives if we are living so long. Quite possibly the man we chose to be a father to our children and someone to pass our genes on with, is not necessarily the right person to share and nurture us in our autumn years. It also examines the friendships we have with other females at different stages of our lives.
The worship of money, status symbols, beauty and power are ultimately replaced by, tranquillity, peace, serenity and a much more deeper and valuable set of principles to live ones life with.
Serena is strong and possesses that most wonderful of traits HOPE! Which is all we have for the future.
I am writing this book, as a woman, of 50 years old, I feel there must be many women out there who can relate in some way to the subjects, which I touch upon. Loss of beauty, therefore power, the sometimes crushing effects of the menopause, the mourning of the loss of our offspring to pastures new and the realisation that there maybe another 25 years looming, to stare at your partner sit in his usual chair in a drunken stupor whilst he watches sport on TV!
I feel there is a lack of books aimed at older women in our society traditionally women’s books are centred around a heroine, or a young mother, or beautiful girlfriend, or lover, or even an Uber successful business woman. Which after reading, one is left feeling even more inadequate, insecure and undervalued. However I feel there is a massive market waiting to be untapped of older women who need inspiring, stimulating and invigorating to enable them to live an enriched life in there later years.
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