Why We Can't Sleep
When Ada Calhoun found herself in the throes of a midlife crisis, she thought that she had no right to complain. She was married with children and a good career. So why did she feel miserable? And why did it seem that other Generation X women were miserable, too?Calhoun decided to find some answers. She looked into housing costs, HR trends, credit card debt averages, and divorce data. At every turn, she saw a pattern: sandwiched between the Boomers and the Millennials, Gen X women were facing new problems as they entered middle age, problems that were being largely overlooked.Speaking with women across America about their experiences as the generation raised to “have it all,” Calhoun found that most were exhausted, terrified about money, under-employed, and overwhelmed. Instead of being heard, they were told instead to lean in, take “me-time,” or make a chore chart to get their lives and homes in order.In Why We Can’t Sleep, Calhoun opens up the cultural and political contexts of Gen X’s predicament and offers solutions for how to pull oneself out of the abyss—and keep the next generation of women from falling in. The result is reassuring, empowering, and essential reading for all middle-aged women, and anyone who hopes to understand them.

Why We Can't Sleep Details

TitleWhy We Can't Sleep
Author
ReleaseJan 7th, 2020
PublisherGrove Press
ISBN-139780802147851
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Feminism, Health, Self Help, Womens, Writing, Essays, Psychology, Audiobook, Mental Health, Adult

Why We Can't Sleep Review

  • Elyse Walters
    January 1, 1970
    Sleepy?Can’t sleep?Wonder about others sleeping habits? The author primarily focuses on Generation X women....but....if you find yourself awake in the middle of the night ....you won’t feel alone after reading ‘this’ book!Ha... I read this during the middle of the night.Ada Calhoun did her research!!!She interviewed thousands of women around the country. We get insights about what concerns Generation X women......single women - divorce women - women with or without children - women working three Sleepy?Can’t sleep?Wonder about others sleeping habits? The author primarily focuses on Generation X women....but....if you find yourself awake in the middle of the night ....you won’t feel alone after reading ‘this’ book!Ha... I read this during the middle of the night.Ada Calhoun did her research!!!She interviewed thousands of women around the country. We get insights about what concerns Generation X women......single women - divorce women - women with or without children - women working three jobs - women who had gotten a good education- and women who stayed in shape. These women woke in the middle of the night wondering about alternate life choices they might have made in their lives - or had fears about aging - money - etc...They have been hit hard financially and dismissed culturally. They have lots of debt. They’re squeezed on both sides by children and aging parents. The grim state of adulthood is hitting them hard. Many are exhausted and bewildered. Generation X women were the first women raised from birth hearing the cliché‘having it all’— they thought they could have careers and a rich home life. They were an experiment in crafting a higher achieving, more fulfilling, and more well rounded version of the American women. By midlife, many found that the experiment was largely failing. The boomer generation said they were the first to hear “they could have it all”.... but it wasn’t until Gen X arrived that it was a main stream expectation. Millennials claim they’re supposed to ‘have it all’ , too. They have crushing student loan debts. They are experiencing social and economic inequality, poisonous political polarization, and a rapidly changing world. “More opportunity has not necessarily lead to greater happiness or satisfaction”.One in four middle-aged American women is on antidepressants. Nearly 60% of those born between 1965 and 1979 described themselves as stressed. I felt sad for many Gen X women. Yet, I felt I understood their struggles and concerns. I lived through many of the same issues when younger, too. Many Generation X women had confusing feelings that they were embarrassed to talk about. Generation X women reported being unhappy, depressed or exhausted.They felt they needed to apologize for ‘whining’. Intellectually they understood that they were ‘lucky’. The women were fighting with how they really felt - vs. what they felt they should feel. It’s a hard place to be stuck in. On an up note .... the cycles of life shine through. Many of the concerns for women in their 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, even 50’s....magically begin to clear up. Things get better. Inner peace is around the corner. Older - post menopausal women may have more wrinkles- but a calmness experience hits them in ways they were not able to experience as easily when they were young - ambitious- driven- with grand desires. I related with the authors findings about women in their 60s, 70s, 80s, or 90s.“Middle-aged women have perspective enough to see what’s important and what isn’t”. Agree! Just the other day an interesting article came out about how reading at night helped people fall to sleep. I posted the article on Facebook ( fitting with reading this book)....I got funny responses from my middle aged female friends - saying ...things like “not me”.....they kept ‘on’ reading ‘through’ the night...nothing depressing about it.Kudos to Ada Calhoun for her extensive research exploring this topic. I found it heartwarming to connect with women around the world who shared authentically. Thank you Grove Atlantic, Netgalley, and Ada Calhoun
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  • Cari
    January 1, 1970
    I was lucky to receive an early copy of this book from Edelweiss. I have read a lot of books about women in today's society, but never one that examined the problem from a generational lens. I did my master's research paper on generations in the workplace, specifically the library, and it was really interesting to get a new perspective on it. Calhoun is a member of Generation X, and so the book focuses mostly on that generation, but there is plenty of context from the other generations as well. I was lucky to receive an early copy of this book from Edelweiss. I have read a lot of books about women in today's society, but never one that examined the problem from a generational lens. I did my master's research paper on generations in the workplace, specifically the library, and it was really interesting to get a new perspective on it. Calhoun is a member of Generation X, and so the book focuses mostly on that generation, but there is plenty of context from the other generations as well. It was a really eye-opening way to look at the multiple disconnects in American middle-class society, and the takeaway is also that Generation X is stronger than they think. Having dealt with a lot of crap in their young lives, hitting the workforce at the time of some major recessions, and now being in debt and squeezed between young kids and aging parents - and yet they keep pressing on, working hard, showing the world that they have something to offer. I myself am an early Millennial, one year away from being Gen X - sometimes we're known as the "Oregon Trail Generation" because we were the last kids to grow up without the Internet, but we did have computers, and we had Oregon Trail. So I learned some things about growing up in the 70s, while also relating to the world of the 80s, which I vaguely remember from my young childhood. Although there aren't easy answers to the conundrums here, the book sheds light on them and offers perspective. Although Calhoun does talk about her life (my favorite anecdote was about "British Club") it's less a memoir than some of the other books on this topic - more of thorough, researched journalism, which is refreshing. I do love a good memoir and an author's perspective, but it was nice to see a different approach.
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  • P.S.G. Lopes
    January 1, 1970
    ***I cannot believe I was blessed to read this AMAZING book before it was formally released. I was invited to read this book through #NetGalley. ***Ada Calhoun’s Why We Can’t Sleep has become my bible, my battle cry, my feminist go-to book for women my age. I got so much out of reading this book. The very second I picked up this book I literally absorbed each and every word and got angrier (in the best possible way), more passionate, and more dedicated to my own goals and missions. I ***I cannot believe I was blessed to read this AMAZING book before it was formally released. I was invited to read this book through #NetGalley. ***Ada Calhoun’s Why We Can’t Sleep has become my bible, my battle cry, my feminist go-to book for women my age. I got so much out of reading this book. The very second I picked up this book I literally absorbed each and every word and got angrier (in the best possible way), more passionate, and more dedicated to my own goals and missions. I legitimately thought I was all alone. I was relieved and felt vindicated in reading this book. I enjoyed reading how the author interviewed many women of our generation and I liked how not every woman had their lives all mapped out. The book was immensely relatable and any woman who grew up in the 1980s will understand all of the references, will understand about the laissez-faire manner in which we were raised by our parents and handled by teachers and administration. We inherited a lot of negative things that we had no idea would reverberate for so many years to come. I, too, grew up believing that I was entitled to the American Dream. I, too, wanted to “have it all” but nearing 40, I have nothing. This was not from lack of trying. We were lied to as kids. We were raised, brainwashed, really, into thinking that every single person would grow up to be successful and to believe that we would all be married by 30, have two point five kids, live in a big house in an affluent area, and have a slew of cats and dogs. I have none of those. I never got married, I only recently decided to take the leap and finally pursue my dream even though I am so, so poor and often regret my decision. I have no kids, no desire to have them, and spent too many years trying to please others and trying to fit into some mold that other people tried shoving me in. I’ve only recently grown the huevos to finally say enough is enough and to fight for what I want in life. This book is a testament to women of our generation to keep fighting for what we want in life. Happiness really is relative and we have to fight for what happiness feels like by our own definition, not by what society claims will make us happy. I liked how Ms. Calhoun discusses the repercussions of feminism. I like exploring the idea of what the first wave of feminists had envisioned and what feminism looks like now. I feel that because of this movement, women who do not have the personality or disposition to hold a traditional full-time job that is demanding and lucrative is seen as weak, lazy, or unambitious. I like exploring the concept that feminism has many layers and that having that job does not make you more of a woman, and not having that job, does not make you less of one.My dissertation was about the recession implications of employment challenges faced by single, educated, childless women in the United States. I wrote this at a time where I could not get enough people to participate in my study. I feel that my topic was way ahead of its time but feel I’d make more progress with this topic now. Women are braver now, more confident, and are paving their own futures regardless of perceived societal norms. More women are opting to marry later, if at all, and are opting to have children later, or not at all. I feel that I spent my whole life taking care of other people. At this phase in my life, I’m choosing to be selfish and to take care of myself for once and that doesn’t involve getting married or having children. I’m at peace with my decision. Yes, I worry about my future. Yes, I worry about not having a pension, 401k, decent health insurance, a man to grow old with to help me financially, etc. I worry about those things every day. But this book allowed me to feel how I feel without judgment, without fear, and with relief that others feel and think similarly to how I feel. I am so privileged to be able to have read this book early. What an amazing read and worth reading if you are a Generation X, middle-aged woman, who is still trying to figure out why the hell we can’t sleep!
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  • Bkwmlee
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 starsSelf-help books have always been a bit of a “hit and miss” for me, which is why I’m very selective when it comes to choosing books from this genre to read. Of course, first and foremost, the subject matter needs to be interesting and also relevant to my current situation – on this count, Ada Calhoun’s newest book Why We Can’t Sleep did deliver, however in some ways, it also fell a bit short of expectations for me.As a member of Generation X (like the author herself), it’s refreshing 3.5 starsSelf-help books have always been a bit of a “hit and miss” for me, which is why I’m very selective when it comes to choosing books from this genre to read. Of course, first and foremost, the subject matter needs to be interesting and also relevant to my current situation – on this count, Ada Calhoun’s newest book Why We Can’t Sleep did deliver, however in some ways, it also fell a bit short of expectations for me.As a member of Generation X (like the author herself), it’s refreshing to read a book that was able to articulate so much of what I have experienced and felt for most of my life up to this point. Many of the insights that Calhoun presented were spot-on, to the point that I found myself nodding my head a lot in understanding and agreement. In addition to being extremely well-researched, with the material laid out in a format that was organized and easy to read, one of the things I appreciated most about this book was the author’s approach to the subject matter – through interviews with hundreds of women, most of them from Generation X, all of whom candidly shared their stories about their struggles and challenges, Calhoun was able to establish a sense of resonance with readers that other books on the same subject mostly lacked. On a personal level, I’m the type of reader who tends to shy away from books that I consider to be too “scientific” in nature, especially ones that are overloaded with a lot of facts, figures, statistics, etc., as I usually find these books boring and as a result, I lose focus really quickly. This book was different in that Calhoun didn’t just regurgitate a bunch of facts and results from studies to support them – rather, she incorporated her own personal experiences as well as those of many other women from different walks of life to create a more anecdotal read, which I feel worked well. With that said though, I think one of the things this book lacked was, ironically, the “self-help” portion, in that it didn’t really present solutions on how to overcome the challenges that Generation X often faced overall. Yes, Calhoun does talk about what worked for her, and with a few of the other women interviewed, she also covered how they ended up improving their particular situations, but a lot of it was very specific to them and their lives. Basically, this book was insightful in terms of explaining the “why” portion, but it didn’t really go into the “what to do about how we’re feeling” portion, at least not in a way that was helpful in my circumstances. Overall, I feel that this book is definitely worth a read, but I think how much readers would be able to relate to it depends on their personal situations (which I believe is why the reviews for this book are all over the place). I certainly got some things out of it (mostly knowledge in that I found out some stuff I didn’t know before), but as I said earlier, I also found quite a few things lacking. I would still recommend this book, but with a warning not to go into it with too many pre-established expectations – if it works for you, then great, but if it doesn’t, that should be fine too.
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  • Angela
    January 1, 1970
    "Boomers deserve full credit for blazing trails while facing unchecked sexism and macroaggressions and for trying to raise children while giving up their own dreams. But Gen Xers entered life with "having it all" not as a bright new option but as a mandatory social condition."Confession: being born in 1981, this classifies me as a (very old) Millennial and not a Gen Xer. But I figure I had a crush on Zach Morris as a kid, so, you know, I'm close enough to Calhoun's target demographic to warrant "Boomers deserve full credit for blazing trails while facing unchecked sexism and macroaggressions and for trying to raise children while giving up their own dreams. But Gen Xers entered life with "having it all" not as a bright new option but as a mandatory social condition."Confession: being born in 1981, this classifies me as a (very old) Millennial and not a Gen Xer. But I figure I had a crush on Zach Morris as a kid, so, you know, I'm close enough to Calhoun's target demographic to warrant reading this book and subsequently writing this review.The good: this book was well researched. Calhoun gives facts, figures, and stats that she pulled from a variety of studies, and she has the citations to prove it. She also interviewed a large smattering of different Gen X ladies to gain their insights for this book. "They are single and partnered, mothers and childless, black and white and Asian and Latina, gay and straight, liberal and conservative, evangelical and atheist, and they hail from nearly every state, including Alaska... They live in the country, the city, and the suburbs. They work, don't work, did work, will work, and have careers that include photographer, priest, tech executive, lawyer, doctor, teacher, and telephone company manager. They range in dress size from 0 to 28+. Some are having an okay time of middle age; many are struggling in one way or another." Additionally, I appreciated how this book was organized into different sections - from caregiving to job instability to money to being single and childless to post-divorce. This way, it was easier for me to skim through the sections that were less relevant to my life (raising kiddos... yawn) and focus more on the ME sections. I mean, I am a selfish Millennial, after all.The not so good: although well researched, I wouldn't say I necessarily learned anything new nor earth shattering from reading this book. Gen Xer ladies grew up hearing they could have it all... and this book shows that being told you're supposed to be kick-a$$ at everything leads to ladies feeling like they're failing at something. "Our lives can begin to feel like the latter seconds of a game of Tetris, where the descending pieces pile up faster and faster." Also, although there was a lot of information on Why We Can't Sleep... but not so much information on What To Do To Help Us Sleep. Calhoun does share a few tidbits in the final chapter of what's helped her, but they're very tailored specifically to her life and her situation. Additionally, and this is on me, I'm just not the biggest fan of self help books (which this book kinda-sorta is). Although it wasn't particularly long at less than 300 pages, it felt like the same information was repeated over and over - which is a trait I find in a lot of self help books. Lastly, I found this book to be rather depressing. Regardless of if the Gen X ladies interviewed for this book were mothers, childless, married, single, gay, straight, the breadwinners, or jobless, they were all stressed out and unhappy on some level. "Things are so much better than they were decades ago, but they can be bad and better at the same time."Thanks to NetGally for an ARC of Why We Can't Sleep in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Leslie Lindsay
    January 1, 1970
    A searing exploration of stresses that keep GenX women up at night (literally and metaphorically), I raced through this book, which completely resonated. So, so grateful to have received an early copy of WHY WE CAN'T SLEEP: Women's New Midlife Crisis (Grove Atlantic, 2020) by memoirist/journalist Ada Calhoun. I was feeling especially down the day it arrived--you know, that existential angst--and was immediately gleeful after reading the book's description: we are a group of women with outward A searing exploration of stresses that keep GenX women up at night (literally and metaphorically), I raced through this book, which completely resonated. So, so grateful to have received an early copy of WHY WE CAN'T SLEEP: Women's New Midlife Crisis (Grove Atlantic, 2020) by memoirist/journalist Ada Calhoun. I was feeling especially down the day it arrived--you know, that existential angst--and was immediately gleeful after reading the book's description: we are a group of women with outward markers of success and personal fulfillment, but still feel lousy. Work and marriage, kids, houses, parents, all of that...we might look 'successful' and 'happy,' but underneath of that is well, a struggle. Money isn't very flow-y, work isn't as easy or satisfying. The marriage gets dull. The kids zap your energy. And what about all of that 'aspirational labor?' What then? WHY WE CAN'T SLEEP mostly focuses on women in GenerationX (GenX), that is, those born roughly between 1967-1980, with a median birth year of 1976. I'm sitting right there. And I feel this, deeply. Calhoun delves into a soulful investigation of women in this cohort. She talked with many women from all walks of life--married, single, divorced, gay, straight, liberal, conservative, religious, atheist, childless, partnered, with children, wealthy, not-wealthy, black, Hispanic, white, Asian. It is WELL researched. Her sentences and paragraphs flow effortlessly and I read in awe. I found this entire book wholly consuming and was thinking, "I really should give a copy to my [Boomer] parents. Then they might 'get' me.'" And I thought of my book club (we're all GenXers). And I thought of the woman who does my massages. My HS girlfriends I'm still in contact with.Calhoun investigates housing costs, workplace trends, credit card debt averages, divorce data. At every turn, there's a familiar pattern: GenX women face unique concerns and challenges that other generations don't. It's about that analog to digital world, the way women/mothers were when we were growing up (working mothers/latchkey kids, at-home mothers, hands-on mothers, hands-off mothers), divorce (latchkey kids), and our Boomer parents telling us: "You can have it all." Why? And what can we do about it when we fall short? Or perceive we do? At times, I was a little panicked reading WHY WE CAN'T SLEEP. It was a bit of gloom and doom, but *insightful* gloom and doom. There is hope, but this title doesn't exactly go into many details--other than--we can prevent the next generation from falling into the abyss. We can dig ourselves out. And it's not about scheduling more 'me time' or creating a chore chart. Such a unique and compelling read. I don't typically re-read books, but this one, I think I will. I found some similarities between this book and the writing of Alexandra Robbins (PLEDGED, OVERACHIEVERS, THE NURSES)Susanna Cahalan (BRAIN ON FIRE and THE GREAT PRETENDERS) meets Malcolm Gladwell's work. For all my reviews, including author interviews, please see: www.leslielindsay.com|Always with a Book. Special thanks to GroveAtlantic and Dewey Decimal Media for this review copy. All thoughts are my own.
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  • Terry ~ Huntress of Erudition
    January 1, 1970
    Every woman between 40 - 60 years old should read this book!It is so well researched, realistic and affirming - for all of us who feel we should not be allowed to be happy unless we are living perfect lives, having it all and doing it all correctly, at all times.Whew, such a relief not to be compelled to "self-help" in order to be perfect at everything - if we are feeling overwhelmed at times, maybe it's because that being overwhelmed is a sane response to what is happening in our lives right Every woman between 40 - 60 years old should read this book!It is so well researched, realistic and affirming - for all of us who feel we should not be allowed to be happy unless we are living perfect lives, having it all and doing it all correctly, at all times.Whew, such a relief not to be compelled to "self-help" in order to be perfect at everything - if we are feeling overwhelmed at times, maybe it's because that being overwhelmed is a sane response to what is happening in our lives right now and we should give ourselves some slack and permission to accept and enjoy ourselves, good or bad, right now. Ada Calhoun writes with many documented facts and explains historically why women in their 40's today have a particularly rough time of it. Not that women from the begining of time have had it easy, but with the advantages and stress of modern living, we feel guilty if we are not happily successful in everything.
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  • Mehrsa
    January 1, 1970
    I loved Calhoun's book about wedding toasts. This one felt forced to me. I could not relate more to a book--I am gen x also struggling with sleep. But I am not sure the answers in here are right--or at least new. There's a lot in here about structural issues like fair pay and second shift stuff and a lot of personal stories. She points out that wine drinking has become this generation's self-help philosophy. This seems true, but I'm not sure it's unique to this generation. I appreciate her I loved Calhoun's book about wedding toasts. This one felt forced to me. I could not relate more to a book--I am gen x also struggling with sleep. But I am not sure the answers in here are right--or at least new. There's a lot in here about structural issues like fair pay and second shift stuff and a lot of personal stories. She points out that wine drinking has become this generation's self-help philosophy. This seems true, but I'm not sure it's unique to this generation. I appreciate her articulating how the midlife crisis in women presents differently than in men--mostly because we have too many people to look after to leave the family and buy a sports car. I would have liked to see that explored more with some psychiatric professionals and studies, but as she notes, it just hasn't been studied as much. She brings up peri-menopause for a second and then just leaves it. I think we probably need more medical work on what is happening hormonally to women of a certain age (which is younger than women of that certain other age).
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  • Erin Bartels
    January 1, 1970
    Witty, well-researched, and full of compassion, Ada Calhoun's book about Gen X women's midlife crises/issues/concerns hits home. If you're a Gen X woman, you will find here someone who watched all the same TV shows, listened to all the same music, and had all the same fears as you did growing up. She'll show you how growing up in the 1970s and 1980s affects some of the things you may be facing now that you're in your forties. And she offers strategies for dealing with such varied things as Witty, well-researched, and full of compassion, Ada Calhoun's book about Gen X women's midlife crises/issues/concerns hits home. If you're a Gen X woman, you will find here someone who watched all the same TV shows, listened to all the same music, and had all the same fears as you did growing up. She'll show you how growing up in the 1970s and 1980s affects some of the things you may be facing now that you're in your forties. And she offers strategies for dealing with such varied things as pre-menopause, divorce, being single with children, being single and childless, work-related stress, and reconciling the dreams you had for yourself with the reality you are now experiencing. I really connected with a lot in this book. I turn 40 in a couple months and I can see myself rereading portions of this for the next decade. Thanks, Ada!
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  • Sherri Thacker
    January 1, 1970
    “You come to this place, midlife. You don’t know how you get here, but suddenly you’re staring 50 in the face!” Yes this was me 6 years ago when i turned the big 5-0 and I knew this book was written about me. Especially with the title as I have not slept good in YEARS!! But this book is more about the facts of being in the Generation X group of women which according to this book, I miss it by a year since I was born in 1963. I found myself skimming large sections because I was losing interest. “You come to this place, midlife. You don’t know how you get here, but suddenly you’re staring 50 in the face!” Yes this was me 6 years ago when i turned the big 5-0 and I knew this book was written about me. Especially with the title as I have not slept good in YEARS!! But this book is more about the facts of being in the Generation X group of women which according to this book, I miss it by a year since I was born in 1963. I found myself skimming large sections because I was losing interest. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this book and this is my honest opinion.
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  • Alicia Bayer
    January 1, 1970
    I've finally finished this book, which is basically a pity dump for upper middle-class 40-something, privileged white women. Wow, what a lot of navel gazing and self absorption. The author finished writing this book as she turned 42, which I don't even consider midlife (I guess I'm an optimist but I'm aiming higher than 84). I have a vivid memory of when I was 42. This memory rarely leaves me. I was sitting in an empty lobby in a children's hospital with my 6 month-old baby in my arms. Two I've finally finished this book, which is basically a pity dump for upper middle-class 40-something, privileged white women. Wow, what a lot of navel gazing and self absorption. The author finished writing this book as she turned 42, which I don't even consider midlife (I guess I'm an optimist but I'm aiming higher than 84). I have a vivid memory of when I was 42. This memory rarely leaves me. I was sitting in an empty lobby in a children's hospital with my 6 month-old baby in my arms. Two janitors went by pushing garbage cans. Over the loudspeaker, a woman said that business hours were over and recited a prayer that echoed through the emptied space. Through two double doors, surgeons were performing emergency surgery on my 13 year-old oldest child's jawline where sepsis had set in following surgery two weeks earlier. Techs had been unable to find her veins for hours to get painkillers into her to try to control her incredible pain, and she'd spent a feverish night in our tiny hometown hospital the night before where morphine didn't make a dent in her pain and a nurse angrily told her "crying like that isn't going to make it any better." We'd rushed her to her oncologist an hour and a half away in the morning, who had recommended emergency surgery. Only days before, we'd found out that the large lump that the doctors had dismissed as a cyst was cancer, but it wasn't even the most dangerous medical reality because infection was spreading into her bloodstream and it could quickly turn fatal. I had called my best friend in Nebraska the night before and said that I didn't even know how to feel when the fact that my child had cancer was not even the scariest thing we were dealing with. The worry during those days was such an intense, visceral pain that it made it hard to breathe, much less sleep. She beat the cancer and the sepsis but the years that followed led to even more medical emergencies and more surgeries. At only 21 now, our oldest child has had three surgeries above the neck for three separate medical issues, which doesn't even make a dent in the dozen other medical crises that have arisen.That keeps me awake at night.Worrying about whether my kids will even have a livable planet when they are my age keeps me up at night. Seriously, the odds are against our children making it to middle age, according to an awful lot of scientists. I was a little baffled by Calhoun's apparent complete lack of worry for her child or for younger generations.The deaths of an endless stream of good friends and family members keeps me up at night. I've lost my mother, father, aunts, grandparents and every relative but a distant mean aunt and a very nice cousin and his kids who live far away. Friend after friend has died, yet another last week in a pretty gobsmackingly tragic way (and my poor 21 year old was there when it happened).Grief keeps me up at night. Deep, profound worry about my kids keeps me up at night. To be honest, the election of Donald Trump and all that he did to vulnerable people caused me a fair number of sleepless nights. And yeah, hot flashes do a bit of that too. But mostly deep and profound worry about others keeps me up at night.But despite all that, I am a pretty happy and content person. I really like my life. It would be great if loved ones would stop dying and terrible things didn't keep me up at night with worry, but it's not about me. Good grief. It's other people that keep me from sleeping at 3 a.m., not the stuff in this book. Some of Calhoun's points are valid in terms of caring for elderly parents and regrets, but for the most part she is so incredibly entitled and self absorbed that I hate-read this book. I know how lucky I am. Women my age are terrified of being deported or of losing their children, are caring for kids with terminal illnesses, are buried in debt and facing homelessness, and living with diseases that fill their lives with pain and challenges... This book highlights how incredibly lucky many modern (American, white, middle class) women are, not unlucky. The irony is that only those on the outside will ever see that.I read a digital ARC of this book for the purpose of review.
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  • Cathi
    January 1, 1970
    I think this book works best as a mirror, and wasn't as resonant for me because there are a lot of mirrors out there for me. The title is fairly misleading - there is nothing about sleep in this book, nor is the case made for Gen X midlife crises being particularly unique. Calhoun breaks (largely) cis, middle and upper class Gen X women's lives and concerns into chapters (eg relationships, career, finances) with a final synthesis chapter. There is a lot of cited data in this book, and I I think this book works best as a mirror, and wasn't as resonant for me because there are a lot of mirrors out there for me. The title is fairly misleading - there is nothing about sleep in this book, nor is the case made for Gen X midlife crises being particularly unique. Calhoun breaks (largely) cis, middle and upper class Gen X women's lives and concerns into chapters (eg relationships, career, finances) with a final synthesis chapter. There is a lot of cited data in this book, and I appreciated that. Largely this is an overview with anecdotes that doesn't delve into any why or how to move through these challenges. It felt like the author was trying to appeal across political lines - through a chapter about living in post-second wave feminism and the expectation that women can have it all (with the expectation of doing it all themselves), she doesn't talk about the persistence of sexism or the importance of having dialog with your partner (if you have one). It's fair for a book not to be everything, but if that's the case, I think the reader deserves more than a surface-level analysis. The final chapter, which talks about ways to move through this time, gets all of the rolled eyes from me. I think this book could be helpful for women who aren't feeling seen or heard, or haven't thought about how living in this particular time at this particular life stage can influence personal happiness or angst. I have a lot of work to do myself but this book wasn't it for me.
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  • Janet
    January 1, 1970
    When it is hot as heck outside and there is nothing cool to do but reading as everything else makes you end up a sweaty mess, it is the perfect day for a speed reader. I received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do . When Ada Calhoun found herself in the throes of a midlife crisis, she thought that When it is hot as heck outside and there is nothing cool to do but reading as everything else makes you end up a sweaty mess, it is the perfect day for a speed reader. I received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸. When Ada Calhoun found herself in the throes of a midlife crisis, she thought that she had no right to complain. She was married with children and a good career. So why did she feel miserable? And why did it seem that other Generation X women were miserable, too?Calhoun decided to find some answers. She looked into housing costs, HR trends, credit card debt averages, and divorce data. At every turn, she saw a pattern: sandwiched between the Boomers and the Millennials, Gen X women were facing new problems as they entered middle age, problems that were being largely overlooked.Speaking with women across America about their experiences as the generation raised to “have it all,” Calhoun found that most were exhausted, terrified about money, under-employed, and overwhelmed. Instead of being heard, they were told instead to lean in, take “me-time,” or make a chore chart to get their lives and homes in order.In Why We Can’t Sleep, Calhoun opens up the cultural and political contexts of Gen X’s predicament and offers solutions for how to pull oneself out of the abyss—and keep the next generation of women from falling in. The result is reassuring, empowering, and essential reading for all middle-aged women, and anyone who hopes to understand them.I am a middle-aged woman who until was obsessed with not being able to sleep or being able to stay asleep - after a two-year wait, I finally got into the sleep disorders clinic. What I found out was that in the eight hours I was three I got less than 3 minutes of REM sleep - no wonder I was going nuts. Middle age women are sandwiched between many, many things - their kids and their parents/career demands vs. wanting to chuck it all vs. debt / etc. etc. etc.Calhoun did some amazing research for this book but the book is not stuffy or boring - and I think every middle-aged woman should read it whether they have sleep problems or not. They may be sleeping well but this book can help you deal with other issues going on in your life. (BTW middle age starts at about 30-35 - #truth) As always, I try to find a reason to not rate with stars as I love emojis (outside of their incessant use by "Social Influencer Millennials" on Instagram and Twitter) so let's give it 😴😴😴😴
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  • Bruin Mccon
    January 1, 1970
    Why Can’t We Sleep is a non-fiction book made for Gen X women who, as the title implies, really need some shut eye.I read an excerpt of this book in a magazine what feels like at least a year ago and I was very excited to get my hands on an advance review copy in exchange for an honest review. Honestly, this book rocks. It’s the catharsis you’ve been waiting for!“We’re the first generation of women raised from birth hearing the tired cliche ’having it all’—then discovering as adults it is very Why Can’t We Sleep is a non-fiction book made for Gen X women who, as the title implies, really need some shut eye.I read an excerpt of this book in a magazine what feels like at least a year ago and I was very excited to get my hands on an advance review copy in exchange for an honest review. Honestly, this book rocks. It’s the catharsis you’ve been waiting for!“We’re the first generation of women raised from birth hearing the tired cliche ’having it all’—then discovering as adults it is very hard having even some of it.”Likening middle age to the latter stages of a losing Tetris game, Calhoun makes the case that not only do we have to make life-changing decisions at this point in our lives, we are also dealing with a Molotov cocktail of hormones in the form of peri- and regular menopause. Our stress makes our hormonal symptoms worse, which in turn increases our stress. In part, I read this book at night before trying to sleep because my nighttime reading (The Snowman (Harry Hole #7)) was in danger of giving me nightmares. While this book may have not helped me sleep, it did make me feel like a GenXer 100%. Moments of my life, touchstones like the Challenger explosion and latchkey kids, are used to illustrate why middle age is such a difficult time for us. Far from being coddled, many of us were ignored and left to deal with trauma alone. This wasn’t considered neglect; it was just the way it was. In fact, it’s possible our generation has higher than normal rates of Reactive Attachment Disorder, causing us to have problems forming loving relationships, stemming from our childhood and lack of caregivers. And this is why we are so careful with our own children, wanting to spare them the pain of our own childhood.The author discusses Generation Alone, a book about Gen X’s spiritual life, quoting, “in aloneness, one’s life is filled with nothing but the clutter and busyness of activity and, all to often, the painful memories of one’s own past.” While I’m a younger X with little kids and thus exhaustion more than any of these other emotions, this still hits very close to home.The entire book is like this, having your issues explained in painstaking detail as if your BFF wrote the book rather than an author you’ve never met. If you think your midlife problems originate from anything other than being a GenX (or Gen X adjacent) woman, well this book has some interesting arguments about why you’re wrong.
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  • chantel nouseforaname
    January 1, 1970
    I needed to read this, this past week was a little crazy, so it was necessary. Sometimes you feel like you're doing too much, giving too much away, expecting too much of yourself, etc. This just reminds you that you can do whatever you want and that it's important to put yourself first and not follow anyone's/society's rules for you. My problem with the book is that it's a little white feministy. However, it's whatever. It's a soothing, calming, marginally reaffirming read.
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  • Margaret King
    January 1, 1970
    Why We Can't Sleep: because we stayed up all night reading this book! This book spoke to me so much--and I recognize, at 41 (the same age as the author when she was writing it), I was among the intended audience--so, for me, it hit home in many ways, both personally and thinking back to what I experienced and observed growing up. Gen X is considered a forgotten generation--1 we almost never hear about because everyone has been talking constantly about Baby Boomers and Millennials. The stereotype Why We Can't Sleep: because we stayed up all night reading this book! This book spoke to me so much--and I recognize, at 41 (the same age as the author when she was writing it), I was among the intended audience--so, for me, it hit home in many ways, both personally and thinking back to what I experienced and observed growing up. Gen X is considered a forgotten generation--1 we almost never hear about because everyone has been talking constantly about Baby Boomers and Millennials. The stereotype is that we're quiet, stoic, cynical, and disengaged--much of which Calhoun questions, and finds that a lot of us are simply busy, stressed, overwhelmed, and dealing with a lot of unrecognized trauma. Indeed--trauma was only reluctantly recognized in Vietnam War vets in the 70's, and then we didn't hear much of it again until recent years. Gen X women have experienced very high rates of sexual trauma, childhood neglect and abuse, etc but it's hardly been recognized. Calhoun argues that Gen X women's midlife crises occur in different ways and at different times than men's, or than Baby Boomers.' She examines several key reasons Gen X was and is unique (there are more in the book, but I'll list the ones that struck me the most):-- Different life timelines : GenX and younger lives are more cyclical than previous generations, although I think some Baby Boomers have experienced this, too: life is no longer lived in a straight, predictable trajectory. We find ourselves having to re-invent ourselves again and again, oftentimes in a very unplanned fashion, and at times that vary between individuals. -- "The least-parented generation:" our generation was often left alone, with little family or community support, compared to generations before and after. We saw high divorce rates, community cohesion and neighborhood safety disintegrate, and our adhesion to church attendance/religion become increasingly disillusioned. Anecdotally (because data wasn't reliably collected as it is now), we had higher rates of parental abuse and neglect, as well as sexual assault, occur to us at a young age.-- High expectations from mothers, grandmothers, and our culture: Our mothers did their best to pave the way for us to enter the workforce, but little thought was given to how many of us *really* wanted to "do it all," and how well-equipped we were to raise children, have marriages/relationships, careers, and still have a fulfilled personal life, health, and look good all at the same time. The pressure to "make something of ourselves," have great careers, and yet also have marriages and children, etc was enormous. I remember my mother insisting I move out as soon as I graduated high school--there was no question that I would live at home and attend college, because she never was able to live independently between her parents' home and marriage. Now, I'm fortunate because I wanted that, and thrived with it, but not all girls/women did. I recall my college roommate sobbing herself to sleep nightly with homesickness, dropping out, and moving back home. I don't think many outside our generation/gender have realized just how much guilt we carry when we don't, can't, or don't want to "have it all" or "do it all." Calhoun mentions that by the Millennial generation, expectations for women had become much more realistic, and varying choices were seen as valid. To this day, my women friends in my age group talk about how much pressure their mothers put on them to present optics of "success" in all areas of life, and act disappointed when that doesn't occur. Likewise, the pressure on GenX women to be excellent mothers while holding down a corner officer career was great (motherhood demands actually increased for GenX women vs Boomer mothers--with GenX moms spending more hours parenting per week, plus the expectation of finding childcare, selecting schools, and overall being more emotionally-nurturing and available than our own parents were--all while working full-time and conforming to other expectations for women--wow!).-- Higher costs of living, soaring college and medical costs, wage stagnation, shrinking job benefits, high childcare costs, and job/economic insecurity, massive debt compared to Baby Boomers: Gen X doesn't often complain about our financial insecurity and worries, but it's huge. According to the book, we have 82% more debt than Boomers. -- Higher rates of chronic illness and having children with disabilities, keeping Gen X women out of regular full-time careers: the rates of both are very high for women in the Gen X cohort--and then we often must turn our attention to aging parents.-- Soaring suicide rates and attempts in middle-aged women right now: Let's please address this, and let's start by acknowledging the challenges and expectations we're facing. I'm guessing most/most women my age know someone in their social circle who has committed suicide, attempted it, or has a friend who's grieving the loss of a dear girlfriend who did.-- Perimenopause, body image, ageism, and menopause--in an age of social media, feminism, and a buffet of "medical" options: Does this even need explanation? The changes a woman's body starts undergoing in the very late 30's, and definitely around 40, results in mid-life emotional and physical (and sexual) changes in an enormously fluctuating, waxing and waning way--often causing spiritual and existential upheaval about our place in society, desirability, etc. It's a very different picture than a man's, and yet, we've shrouded it in a cloak of secrecy that's only now beginning to change incrementally. And appearance-wise, what does "aging well" mean for GenX women? Does it mean a Boomeresque battle against aging (often resulting in a lot of time and money that GenX women don't have), or do we embrace changes without apology, presenting ourselves with no makeup, silver hair, body positivity and acceptance, etc--and what are the ramifications for that on the job, and socially, and in our romantic lives?Loved this book and am so glad I read it. It's easy, quick reading that resonates.**Note: although the author states the women she interviewed were from nearly every US state, and spanned race, sexual orientation, and lifestyle/family choices, there is a generality to the book that doesn't speak specifically to differences by race, class, etc. Some have mentioned the skew toward married women/mothers in the book, and I would say that's true--possibly because relationships and children were mentioned often when talking about balancing career and personal life, etc. Another stressor that's mentioned is GenX women's worry about when to have children, if they should have children, etc which might feel excluding to some GenX women who are happily childless. There's a lot of focus on GenX women who feel guilt about not working or not working fulltime, but not a lot of focus on social guilt levied at those in our generation who are happily single, childfree, etc--there is a bit of attention to the happily single and child-free, but it's couched in terms that imply it how much easier life is and how much free time and fun they're having...which can be misleading, too.
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  • Pallavi
    January 1, 1970
    ***4.0***I was born in late 80's, so I am a Millennial!And whaterver topics Ada Calhoun broached in this book, also relate to Millennials. Not only Gex X ladies. I loved every inch of it. It practically sang to me which I had not expected at all. But it was like a knowledge passed on to me that every woman will feel this in her life time no matter where is she born. That made me feel less alone perhaps. But a really astounding read.Thanks to NetGalley for ARC in exchange of honest review.Happy ***4.0***I was born in late 80's, so I am a Millennial!And whaterver topics Ada Calhoun broached in this book, also relate to Millennials. Not only Gex X ladies. I loved every inch of it. It practically sang to me which I had not expected at all. But it was like a knowledge passed on to me that every woman will feel this in her life time no matter where is she born. That made me feel less alone perhaps. But a really astounding read.Thanks to NetGalley for ARC in exchange of honest review.Happy Reading!!!
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  • Erin Logan
    January 1, 1970
    I knocked this one down in two days. As a technical Millennial woman who feels I much more identify with GenX, this book really spoke to my soul. I needed this. This was definitely the right book at the right time for me.
  • Ruth
    January 1, 1970
    Parts of it made me angry. It is all about how Gen X women have it worse than women of any other generation, which is of course BS. If she had just focused on our challenges and not tried to make it a who had worst contest, it would have been great book. The challenges and differences were on point, but when she says - "and that's why ours is worse", I wanted to throw the book across the room.Also, it was very white hetero upper middle class centric, and the lack of understanding of diverse Parts of it made me angry. It is all about how Gen X women have it worse than women of any other generation, which is of course BS. If she had just focused on our challenges and not tried to make it a who had worst contest, it would have been great book. The challenges and differences were on point, but when she says - "and that's why ours is worse", I wanted to throw the book across the room.Also, it was very white hetero upper middle class centric, and the lack of understanding of diverse views really irritated me. in fact, don't bother to read it. It's flaws really outweighed its plusses.
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  • Becky
    January 1, 1970
    Reading Why We Can't Sleep by Ada Calhoun felt like I was reading a biography of my own life. The main premise of the book examines that current life trajectories of women from Generation X (born 1965-1980). Women in Generation X are the first to deal with new expectations, due to the great strides achieved by women of earlier generations. For example, the ability to work outside the home and have children was normalized, but for Gen X women the expectation is that we WILL do both. As Calhoun so Reading Why We Can't Sleep by Ada Calhoun felt like I was reading a biography of my own life. The main premise of the book examines that current life trajectories of women from Generation X (born 1965-1980). Women in Generation X are the first to deal with new expectations, due to the great strides achieved by women of earlier generations. For example, the ability to work outside the home and have children was normalized, but for Gen X women the expectation is that we WILL do both. As Calhoun so perfectly states, "The belief that girls could do anything morphed into a directive that they must do everything." This book examines the ever-increasing demands that Gen X women are facing and delves into these various areas of responsibility (children, aging parents, financial demands, career aspirations, and physical changes). This book will highlight many of the things you fear, and some you didn't even realize, but it will also reassure you that you are not crazy and you are not alone!
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  • Jocelyn
    January 1, 1970
    OUT TODAY, thanks to Grove Press and NetGalley for the ARC! I found Ada Calhoun’s Why We Can't Sleep highly readable and valuable as a Millennial woman. This nonfiction examination of Gen X women's experiences with aging and managing their middle-aged years was incredibly interesting. I found myself unable to put it down, perhaps because I craved a fuller (and more honest) understanding of real women's experiences. Calhoun's writing was engaging and entertaining, and she covers a good range of OUT TODAY, thanks to Grove Press and NetGalley for the ARC! I found Ada Calhoun’s Why We Can't Sleep highly readable and valuable as a Millennial woman. This nonfiction examination of Gen X women's experiences with aging and managing their middle-aged years was incredibly interesting. I found myself unable to put it down, perhaps because I craved a fuller (and more honest) understanding of real women's experiences. Calhoun's writing was engaging and entertaining, and she covers a good range of topics. I did have an issue with the narrow scope of voices featured in the books (many were left out), as well as the inaccurate stereotypes used to discuss both my generation and the Baby Boomers’ generation, but overall, as a white middle class cishet woman, I found it entertaining and enlightening. Full review here.
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  • Eileen
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 starsI took my time reading this book because I wanted to think about each of the chapters as I read them. When I requested this ARC, it was the title that caught my eye, because I don't sleep. So I thought it was going to be some sort of self-help book that might help me sleep better. But it turns out it's about the different generations (boomers, gen-x, millenials, etc.) and in particular about gen-x women and why life seems to be such a struggle that we don't ever rest or feel like we can 4.5 starsI took my time reading this book because I wanted to think about each of the chapters as I read them. When I requested this ARC, it was the title that caught my eye, because I don't sleep. So I thought it was going to be some sort of self-help book that might help me sleep better. But it turns out it's about the different generations (boomers, gen-x, millenials, etc.) and in particular about gen-x women and why life seems to be such a struggle that we don't ever rest or feel like we can rest. Although some of it does not apply directly to me, much of it did resonate and several of her discussions mirrored discussions I've had with close (online) girlfriends. And it makes me value, even more, these girlfriends that I've discovered over the past 15 years. After reading this book and reflecting on motherhood, I realize that life would have been even harder without the support of these women. This book is incredibly well researched (the references alone take up 10s of pages) as she describes the gen-x generation (born 65-79) being sandwiched between the Boomers and the Millenials and the different current events that occurred as we were growing up, as we graduated from college, as we entered the workplace, and as we raise our children (or struggle with infertility or choose not to have children) while taking care of aging parents. It does not discount the struggles that the previous generations or current generations have, but with mounds of research, she talks about why Gen-X women are feeling so broken and useless and down on themselves. In the end, she says that perhaps it's a matter of reframing our experiences. "It's about telling the story of our mistakes, our life, in a new way, in which we're heroines worth rooting for.""Maybe the Generation X story need not be: We're broke. We're unstable. We're alone. Maybe it can be: We've had a hard row to hoe. We've been one big experiment. And yet, look at us: we've accomplished so much."And she backs this up with tons of research.This book was dry at times, but that's partly because nonfiction is not my usual genre. But as I read this book, I kept thinking, "She's talking to me!" I think all women (and men) born between 1965 and 1979 should read this book. Looking back over the past 5 years of my life, I can see how I've started applying some of what she talks about in this book. And I agree that is has been helpful for me. I still need to consciously get more sleep though, lol!Special thanks to #AdaCalhoun, #NetGalley and #GroveAtlantic for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Jodi
    January 1, 1970
    Ada Calhoun's "Why We Can't Sleep" offers several comforting ideas for Generation X women: We aren't alone, we aren't crazy, we really are dealing with a lot, and most importantly, somebody is noticing us! Generation X (roughly, born between 1965-1980) is a smaller cohort than either the Boomers who preceded us or the Millennials who came after us. However, we are entering middle age, and that is bringing us all many challenges. Calhoun interviewed Gen X women with a variety of life experiences. Ada Calhoun's "Why We Can't Sleep" offers several comforting ideas for Generation X women: We aren't alone, we aren't crazy, we really are dealing with a lot, and most importantly, somebody is noticing us! Generation X (roughly, born between 1965-1980) is a smaller cohort than either the Boomers who preceded us or the Millennials who came after us. However, we are entering middle age, and that is bringing us all many challenges. Calhoun interviewed Gen X women with a variety of life experiences. That said, the overall impression is a white, straight, and middle-class (at least, raised middle-class) one. Calhoun describes the unique social trends that affected us. We grew up fearing abduction, nuclear war, etc., and rightly so. (To be fair, Generation Z's "In case I'm shot" cell phone stickers and shooting drills go beyond what even our imaginations could. Calhoun does not say this.) It is Generation X mothers who perfected the so-called "helicopter parenting" derided by many. This, as Calhoun points out, is an overcorrection for the largely unsupervised childhoods so many of us had. (I myself was what was known as a "latchkey" child and babysat my much-younger brother. My mother was widowed and had no other option.) Like me, many a GenX kid walked to the store, bounced around in the beds of pick-up trucks, and watched a lot of TV long before "screen time" was a phrase. At one point, Calhoun tells a story about a child in her school who mockingly re-enacted the 1986 Challenger explosion on her school playground, using matches. She was attempting to describe the dark humor that many of us grew up embracing as a coping mechanism. Then it occurs to her: when she was growing up, children were playing with matches on a school playground, and she thought nothing of it. Calhoun also describes economic trends that have curtailed many of our career goals, from the market correction of 1987 to today's gig economy. As the first generation of American women to grow up with feminist expectations, we were told we could do anything. This was an empowering message, but also sometimes set women up to feel like failures. We are a true "sandwich generation" as well, as many of us delayed childbearing into our thirties or later (probably for the best), but are also responsible for aging parents. Mostly, Calhoun's message seems to be that we've put up with a lot, we're not wrong to be bitter, and we should be easier on ourselves and younger women coming behind us. Those messages seem simple and obvious, but as Calhoun points out, we have gotten barraged with other messages from the media, our parents, and our environments all our lives. A therapist of mine offered me a marvelous phrase that I return to often: "Reacting normally to abnormal circumstances". Generation X women have done exactly that. Sometimes that reminder is needed.Thanks to NetGalley for providing an ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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  • Jennifer
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 I found this book to be thought provoking but also frustrating. The author takes a very surface-level approach to visiting Gen-Xers. I wanted more in-depth details about the women she interviewed. It’s also overwhelmingly about heterosexual women, to the point where I became distracted, wondering if we’d hear any stories about queer women. There was one, specifically. I suppose one could argue that this is not a necessarily relevant distinction, but it felt like a big missing piece to me. 3.5 I found this book to be thought provoking but also frustrating. The author takes a very surface-level approach to visiting Gen-Xers. I wanted more in-depth details about the women she interviewed. It’s also overwhelmingly about heterosexual women, to the point where I became distracted, wondering if we’d hear any stories about queer women. There was one, specifically. I suppose one could argue that this is not a necessarily relevant distinction, but it felt like a big missing piece to me. That said, as a Gen-Xer myself, the author was spot on about so many of my personal experiences and feelings. It was very validating, to be honest. Takeaway: Women are amazing.
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  • Emily K.
    January 1, 1970
    This book is a dud. I can't help but feel like it would benefit from more historical, political, and economic context. Her "research" is largely anecdotal, from a sample population of ~200 women. It makes arguments like Gen X's experience of the challenger explosion contributes to them being helicopter parents, millenials are happier because they had Elmo. It wants to argue that the specificity of middle class Gen X misery is somehow more unique than the misery of anyone else in the year of our This book is a dud. I can't help but feel like it would benefit from more historical, political, and economic context. Her "research" is largely anecdotal, from a sample population of ~200 women. It makes arguments like Gen X's experience of the challenger explosion contributes to them being helicopter parents, millenials are happier because they had Elmo. It wants to argue that the specificity of middle class Gen X misery is somehow more unique than the misery of anyone else in the year of our lord 2020, which makes it come off more like time trials for the oppression Olympics and less like the Slow Cancellation of the Future. Its protagonist is the women who has done everything right but gets none of the reward, whatever that is. Millennial cynicism is its own breed, we know nothing matters but we're still trying, miserable but trying.
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  • Clare Marshall
    January 1, 1970
    Eh. This book was kind of interesting but mostly just depressing. The author shares research and stories of Gen X women about why they are so unhappy. Basically Gen X women have told they could have it all and spoiler: they can’t. Everyone is stressed out and hates their lives. The book seemed light on actual research and felt overwhelming anecdotal. There’s also no fix given at the end. The same “bandaids” the author complains about in the beginning (get more fresh air, look on the bright side) Eh. This book was kind of interesting but mostly just depressing. The author shares research and stories of Gen X women about why they are so unhappy. Basically Gen X women have told they could have it all and spoiler: they can’t. Everyone is stressed out and hates their lives. The book seemed light on actual research and felt overwhelming anecdotal. There’s also no fix given at the end. The same “bandaids” the author complains about in the beginning (get more fresh air, look on the bright side) are what she ends up using in the end. This should have been a long article instead of a full book IMO.
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  • Nichola Gutgold
    January 1, 1970
    A bit too whiny for my tastes, but the author makes many good points about why today’s Gen X woman is overwhelmed. She quickly concludes on an optimistic note after bringing the reader through hundreds of negative pages. I don’t highly recommend but if you’re into these kinds of books about the current state of women, I recommend you read it. I don’t completely agree with her, but that might be the optimist in me.
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  • Crowinator
    January 1, 1970
    I'm dating myself by putting this on my to-read list, aren't I? (c;
  • Allison
    January 1, 1970
    So you know that feeling you have after a great night out with female friends where you consume several bottles of wine and realize it isn’t just you, you aren’t alone/crazy/failing. This book offers all that —without the hangover. I rarely give 5 stars - but I so unexpectedly enjoyed this book —I just had to. I thought I was reading a self help sleep book 2 friends recommended- something I didn’t need. What I got was a life affirming book that helped put so much in perspective. I am not a fan So you know that feeling you have after a great night out with female friends where you consume several bottles of wine and realize it isn’t just you, you aren’t alone/crazy/failing. This book offers all that —without the hangover. I rarely give 5 stars - but I so unexpectedly enjoyed this book —I just had to. I thought I was reading a self help sleep book 2 friends recommended- something I didn’t need. What I got was a life affirming book that helped put so much in perspective. I am not a fan of validation reading (aka “scary mommy” - it’s ok Henry burned your house down - it’s his self expression and we don’t believe in the use of the word no. This less validation and more putting your feelings into context. I loved the antidotal interviews and stories that personalized the actual research and not your personal beliefs. Don’t get me wrong - this isn’t the happy ending book this Jane Austen loving reader most enjoys. It’s a Sassy Magazine worthy, non-fiction where are we now assessment for female gen-exers who felt understood by Nick Hornby/Douglas Coupland/Helen Fielding. Only down side - being forced to admit you are middle-aged.
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  • Echo C
    January 1, 1970
    This was a good read. Ada Calhoun discusses the phenomenon of midlife crisis in women, of Gen X women in particular and even though, I'm not a member of that group, I felt this one way too hard. Calhoun goes into all the ways that women are overworked (both emotionally and physically), frustrated due to unfulfilled goals, and the expectations society placed on their generation. She speaks to different women, recalling their anecdotes throughout the book but offers no real solutions. I don't This was a good read. Ada Calhoun discusses the phenomenon of midlife crisis in women, of Gen X women in particular and even though, I'm not a member of that group, I felt this one way too hard. Calhoun goes into all the ways that women are overworked (both emotionally and physically), frustrated due to unfulfilled goals, and the expectations society placed on their generation. She speaks to different women, recalling their anecdotes throughout the book but offers no real solutions. I don't think there are any so I won't hold that against her.
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