Title inspired by the 1958 movie Attack of the Fifty Foot Woman. Blog inspired by Claire Messud’s The Woman Upstairs.
Ah, the spinsterly age of thirty-seven! That’s how poor Nora, the self-deprecating protagonist of Claire Messud’s The Woman Upstairs sees it, acting like her life is over because she’s thirty-seven, single, no kids, and nothing outstanding to show for. And whose fault is that? In this age of no accountability, it must be someone else’s. Anyhow, love the book or hate it, as many expressed in the reviews, Messud did manage to provoke a lot of thought and reactions, which is the point and purpose of art, and in that regard, makes the book a success. But if the woman upstairs is a washed-up side-feature, what’s the woman downstairs? Hm, never mind. That doesn’t sound right.
Thirty-seven can be a great turning point, a passage from one phase of life to another. I had my first child at thirty-seven and lived to tell the tale. And then had a second child. Cher’s character Loretta Castorini in the 1987 film Moonstruck gets engaged again at thirty-seven. Several book reviewers remarked that thirty-seven in this day and age is not old anymore. Granted, there are considerations having children later in life, but thirty-seven doesn’t mean your ovaries are shriveled up or that you are crumpled and crippled and doomed to weeping and nibbling stale cookies until you die.
Originally, I didn’t mean for this to be a rant regarding The Woman Upstairs, but it strikes a nerve, and I think the subtext is that life belongs to the living, not just to people under a certain age. I know women who married for their first time at 50. Lewis Lapham founded Laphams Quarterly at 72. Thomas Sowell published yet another book at 90; regardless of how one feels about his arguments, it’s still something. Sex lives can go on into your eighties, maybe longer. Funny stories about that, but maybe another time. Look up Grandmother Lovers on YouTube. Uh, moving on and finishing up…
Point is, if you’re not dead, you can probably still do it, whatever it may be. ‘Til next, keep reading, and don’t hold your breath until your next birthday!
And if you happen to be bored and looking for a lousy read, check out my book about, ahem, an older woman misbehaving. https://www.amazon.com/author/morraroseinks
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