Getting dumped by telephone in the middle of a Hugh Grant film is the beginning of Christine’s surprising new journey. Finding answers to why her ten year marriage is ending so inexplicably forces her to reevaluate the life she thought she had and to explore what she wants to do next.
We follow her as she begins living a great single life in Hamburg, even as she approaches her fortieth birthday, and we empathize with her emotions that are, by turns, confusing, lonely, and exhilarating.
Friends help to buffer her new explorations. Like many women who have gone down this particular road, Christine enjoys the journey, even while feeling some angst over the loss and the betrayal.
I liked the characters in this novel, and could relate to many of the women. An intriguing twist: Christine has two voices that play out in her head—Edith, who has only negativity to share; and Charlotte, who chimes in with positive affirmations. There was humor in Christine’s reactions to the voices. Sometimes the voices, and her subsequent fantasies, occurred in unlikely places, like in the middle of a traffic jam; at other times, they sustained her on long lonely nights.
I especially enjoyed the freedom she experienced when she could make her own choices, like spending money on “designing her new life.” Or ignoring the “shoulds” and paying attention to the “wants.”
In some ways, Life After Forty was a predictable tale, with all the usual singles nights and spa dates, as well as the endless shopping trips. Taking a lover who is not really accessible is another cliché, but the story does not tie up this particular loose end, leaving the reader with hope that the lessons she learns will be useful ones.