Midlife Solo: Writing my way through chaos to find my place in the world
In Midlife Solo, a single mother starting afresh in her forties struggles to come to terms with the messy complications of middle age. Writing keeps her sane, bringing up memories and reflections as she deals with teenaged children, elderly parents, and her own aging. She confronts disasters, such as a house fire and the loss of friends, and celebrates pleasures: gardening, community, a younger boyfriend, travel to France.
With warmth, humour, and honesty, she explores what matters most: the necessity of change, the pain that comes with it, and especially, as she writes, “the hard work that is love.”
This captivating memoir in essays chronicles Beth Kaplan’s chaotic twenty-five-year journey to find peace and home.
Excerpt: Stranger on a Train
I tried to have a romantic adventure this summer; I really did. The setting couldn’t have been more conducive: the night train from Venice to Paris. My compartment on the way in to Venice was crammed with strangers, but on the way out, there was only me, blissfully alone. I was relishing the privacy and quiet when a man poked his head in and asked if he could join me.
He was good-looking and fit, with grizzled curls and an intense gaze — Italian, fluent in English. We began to chat. He was witty, magnetic, and without a wedding ring, and a Harlequin fantasy began to unfurl in my mind — “Strangers in the Night.” Our eyes locked, the conversation picked up heat, and we jumped into more personal matters.
Soon I knew more than I could ever want to know about him, because we spent the next two hours discussing his divorce.