Still reeling from her recent divorce, Christine, the beloved protagonist of Dora Heldt’s uproarious Life After Forty, is sure that yet another birthday is the last thing she needs. But here it comes nonetheless, the big 4-4, in all its lonely mid-life glory. Making matters worse is Christine’s fear that, throughout her life, she has relied too heavily on the support of her girlfriends. As the big day nears, she begins to think that none of those women can understand just what she is going through. Alarmed by Christine’s growing despair, her best friend and sister hatch a plan to prove her wrong: they will gather together all of Christine’s old friends from the various stages of her life and throw a surprise party the likes of which she has never seen. Of course finding all of those women turns out to be easier said than done! Nonetheless, the final result proves to be a priceless gift, a moving and laugh-out-loud funny portrait of one woman’s life as told through the stories of her friendships.
Christine is the main character and she is not doing so well in the beginning of the novel. She is starting to feel older, has recently divorced due to a cheating husband, and has lost her best friend. She doesn't quite know what to do about the whole debacle. Christine is slowly losing faith in close friendships, particularly of the female persuasion. Her friends know what they must do. They band together in an attempt to raise Christine's faith and happiness. The novel takes off from there.
Dora Heldt skillfully crafts a novel concerning female friendship from the ashes of female friendship. Confusing? Not really. Christine was betrayed by a woman she considered her oldest and dearest friend. However, her other friends show her that she shouldn't lose faith in friendship in general. They try to be there for her.
Christine as a character was nice to get to know. The reader will feel very connected to her at the end of the novel. The secondary characters, particularly Christine's other friends, are great. They round out the novel. The events are not very fast-paced, but the book does not call for quick events, but deliberate ones-which the author delivers. This book is recommended to adult readers.
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