Why We Can’t Sleep: Women’s New Midlife Crisis

Grove. Jan. 2020. 288p. notes. index. ISBN 9780802147851. $26. SOC SCI
For women experiencing the signs of midlife, this book by Calhoun (Wedding Toasts I’ll Never Give) collects stories relating to mental health, especially depression and anxiety, along with issues such as financial insecurity, job instability, parenting, caregiving, divorce, and other concerns that might prevent someone from getting a restful night’s sleep. Built on personal narratives and research-based data, chapters focus on themes such as success, including what it means to be successful and the cost of achieving personal and professional success. Specifically looking at Generation X women, Calhoun asks why she and others continue to feel miserable despite traditional markers of success, such as children and a good career. Her research offers women ways to look at but not devalue their own experiences; she addresses the fact that women often minimize their own struggles instead of recognizing how their lack of sleep, along with other physical and mental pressures, constitute legitimate crises in their own right.
VERDICT Calhoun’s latest will be useful for those interested in feminist theory, especially insofar as it intersects with age and class, as well as a useful resource for people struggling to find balance in their personal and professional lives.
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