The New Old Me is a lusty, kickass post-divorce memoir, one woman’s story of starting over at 60 in youth-obsessed, beauty-obsessed Hollywood. After the death of her best friend, the loss of her life s savings, and the collapse of her once-happy marriage, Meredith Maran whom Anne Lamott calls insightful, funny, and human leaves her San Francisco freelance writer’s life for a 9-to-5 job in Los Angeles. Determined to rebuild not only her savings but herself while relishing the joys of life in La-La land, Maran writes a poignant story, a funny story, a moving story, and above all an American story of what it means to be a woman of a certain age in our time. (via Goodreads)
I received an eARC courtesy of the publisher, Blue Rider Press, and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Meredith Maran opens The New Old Me on blood and heartbreak, with the end of a marriage and a wedding ring.
This story in The New Old Me is one that will be familiar to readers – divorcee moves to a new city, starts a new job and tries to find a new life, and also themselves. However, Meredith makes herself and Los Angeles shine, despite the hard circumstances that she finds herself in throughout the novel.
I loved that Meredith recognized in the narrative that a relationship was good, but that it wasn’t what she really wanted. She never takes herself too seriously, which was nice. It’s very different to see what it’s like moving to a new city in your sixties, compared to me doing it in my twenties.
However, I’d like to add a trigger warning for some biphobia, because one particular thing really bothered me throughout the book, and I’m feeling a little weird about it. The female author is very recently divorced from her unnamed wife at the beginning of this book, but she has previously been in long-term relationships and a marriage with a man.
The author advertises herself in the newspaper as a bisexual woman, though
she notes that she generally prefers women, which is fine because bisexuality is almost never a 50-50 preference. You can’t control your preferences, and I absolutely understand that she was still hurting from losing her wife as a partner, so this is not where I have the issue at all. Where I have the issue later is that she identifies herself as a lesbian literally everywhere else in her life, and then she says this.
Calling herself “opportunistic” struck me as internalized biphobia, and the fact that even in her own memoir, she wouldn’t identify herself as bisexual anywhere else.
I did otherwise enjoy the novel, but the more I thought about it, the more this bothered me, so this is probably a 2.5 star novel for me, but I don’t do half stars, thus the two star rating.