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Review: No One Tells You This by Glynnis MacNicol

In her debut memoir, “No One Tells You This”, Glynnis MacNicol offers an engaging perspective from beyond what seems for everyone to be the enemy line: forty. No one tells you this, but they should, and thank goodness that MacNicol finally has. With a sharp wit and tell-all style similar to the great Nora Ephron, she is sure to win your heart. MacNicol gives an intimate glimpse into the wildly under-represented life of a woman in the throes of middle age without such accessories as a spouse or children.  From the prologue on, she is at once as familiar and relatable as your favorite foul-mouthed gal pal as she takes us through the year following her fortieth birthday. Paralleling her own is the story of her aging mother, who has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s, and the many others in MacNicol’s life who have grown to become a collective family. “No One Tells You This” is poignant, humorous, eternal: a book to raise a glass to and a  great read for a woman of any age.

“No One Tells You This” sweeps us up into MacNicol’s ever busy lifestyle (which is anything but that of a dull spinster). We’re taken from the shores of Rockaway Beach to Iceland, to Toronto, to Wyoming and back again, with the Manhattan skyline somehow ever-present through MacNicol’s New Yorker perspective. Throughout chapters that beg to be read, with titles like “Choose your own Rom Com” and “Balls”, Said the Queen”, MacNicol speaks boldly about topics that plague us all.  From not becoming her mother, to the effects of being too plugged-in, to the seemingly unavoidable ticking clock, she reminds us again and again that we aren’t alone.

MacNicol has tested the waters and found that what lies beyond forty is, more than anything, a relief; Life doesn’t end at forty. Brimming with insight, each lesson she learns along the way is rooted in experiences from her diverse past and accompanied by laughable anecdotes. What we see here is the story not of falling in love, but of  learning to love oneself and one’s own life as is: an adventure that everyone should go on at least once.  MacNicol refutes the invisibility that too-often envelopes women in their forties. Against the backdrop of conventionalism and mundanity, she is a shining star and as this memoir will prove, a rising one.

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