I’ve long been a fan of Jenny Eclair, but have never got round to reading one of her books so I thought it was time to rectify that situation. My hugely grateful thanks to Hannah Robinson at Quercus for sending me a copy of Older and Wider in return for an honest review.
Older and Wider was published by Quercus on 2nd July 2020 and is available for purchase through the links here.
Older and Wider
‘If you’re after an in-depth medical or psychological insight into the menopause, I’m afraid you’ve opened the wrong book – I’m not a doctor . . . However, I am a woman and I do know how it feels to be menopausal, so this book is written from experience and the heart and I hope it makes you laugh and feel better.’ JE
Older and Wider is Jenny Eclair’s hilarious, irreverent and refreshingly honest compendium of the menopause. From C for Carb-loading and G for Getting Your Shit Together to I for Invisibility and V for Vaginas, Jenny’s whistle-stop tour of the menopause in all its glory will make you realise that it really isn’t just you. Jenny will share the surprising lessons she has learnt along the way as well as her hard-won tips on the joy of cardigans, dealing with the empty nest (get a lodger) and keeping the lid on the pressure cooker of your temper (count to twenty, ten is never enough).
As Jenny says, ‘I can’t say that I’ve emerged like a beautiful butterfly from some hideous old menopausal chrysalis and it would be a lie to say that I’ve found the ‘old me’ again. But what I have found is the ‘new me’ – and you know what? I’m completely cool with that.’
My Review of Older and Wider
One woman’s insight into the menopause.
I was having a bad day when I picked up Older and Wider, and I’d just read a pretty intense book so I was hoping for something entertaining and humorous from Jenny Eclair to raise my spirits. My word I got what I’d hoped. And more. Much more. Older and Wider is absolutely brilliant.
Written with pithy humour, complete honesty and a witty style that feels as if Jenny Eclair is chatting with you over a cup of tea (and probably a large plate of cheese), Older and Wider is such an effortless, engrossing and entertaining read.
I thought the structure of Older and Wider worked so well. Although I read the book straight through and in one sitting because I simply couldn’t put it down as I was so absorbed, the A to Z nature affords the opportunity to dip in and out of areas of interest too. The short sections allow those readers suffering from menopausal brain fog fully to absorb and enjoy each part without their frustrating symptoms spoiling it! I can’t comment on the plot as, well there isn’t one and as Jenny Eclair might tell you, most menopausal women have probably lost the plot anyway.
That’s not to say Older and Wider doesn’t deal with weighty issues like divorce, sexual intercourse, family relationships and physical and emotional changes for women experiencing the menopause, because it does. It’s just that Jenny Eclair strips back the secrecy and mysticism surrounding menopause and manages to provide solutions and advice with brilliant insight into human nature and so much humour that I chortled, nodded and laughed until I cried my way through Older and Wider as every word resonated with me. I may not have had all the same physical menopausal experiences as Jenny Eclair, but I could certainly recognise so many of her emotions. My husband seemed to think I had taken leave of my senses as I tried to read passages aloud to him but failed because I was laughing too much.
I loved the concept conveyed that embracing who we are and how our bodies are changing can be a positive experience and that where it isn’t an easy thing, there are services and people to help us. Equally wonderful was the level of autobiographical detail that made me feel I know the author a little better and consolidated my opinion that Jenny Eclair is an absolute star. I began reading Older and Wider as a grumpy old woman and ended it as an entertained, uplifted and happy one.
Utterly hilarious, completely relatable and totally fabulous, Older and Wider is a must read for any woman – or man!
About Jenny Eclair
Jenny Eclair is the Sunday Times top ten bestselling author of the critically acclaimed novels Camberwell Beauty, Having a Lovely Time and Life, Death and Vanilla Slices, as well as the Richard and Judy bestseller, Moving, the short story collection, Listening In and her latest novel Inheritance. One of the UK’s most popular writer/performers, she was the first woman to win the prestigious Perrier Award and has many TV and radio credits to her name. She lives in south-east London.