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The Improbable Adventures of a Middle-Aged Woman by Jennifer Lawler

A memoir of letting go.

When her daughter was born with a devastating medical condition, Jennifer Lawler set out to make a good life despite the circumstances. She wanted the story to be “kickass mother of a special kid hangs on to her dream of being a writer no matter what.”

But life takes its toll, despite our best intentions. At the start of this story, our intrepid heroine wakes up in middle age, disillusioned and discouraged; her dream has gotten a little dusty and holding on to it is not as rewarding as she had expected. Grit and determination feel more like grinding routine, especially since her beloved daughter, now eighteen, still needs round-the-clock care. Goals and to-do lists have turned into just another kind of jail.

Recognizing this as the onset of a midlife crisis, Jennifer does what anyone would. She makes a bucket list, then sets out to reawaken her spirit by doing all the things she ever wanted to do: reconnect with her Irish roots, live on a houseboat in the Florida Keys, learn guitar from a session player in Nashville. There are only two snags: life has limits, and her funny, challenging, brilliant daughter is almost always in tow.

Teetering on the edge of a cliff in Ireland, searching fruitlessly for a place to stay during a wild summer storm in the West Highlands, getting lost in Munich, talking to the one person in Eastern Europe who’ll admit to missing communism, and, finally, confronting the fact that her daughter isn’t nearly as interested in guitar-playing and house-boating as she is, Jennifer discovers that happiness has nothing to do with lists.

Jennifer Lawler

Jennifer Lawler is probably cutting glass for her daughter’s current project, eavesdropping on other people’s conversations, or laughing like a hyena at this very moment. She is currently resisting labels but is willing to admit that she has had a colorful career doing any number of things related to book publishing, including writing books. She is the author of the memoir, The Improbable Adventures of a Middle-Aged Woman.