Friday, May 6, 2011

Day 577



I did a lot of reading while on holidays. In addition to reading the Richard Branson autobiography, I also read "Dancing Backwards in High Heels" by Christine Darcas, which was loaned to me by the lovely E over at Whining at the World.  E was my first face-to-face bloggy date a few weeks back and it was with the excuse of wanting to borrow the book that we pushed forward with a real life meeting. Yay for us! It was a great luncheon and one we are definitely going to do again .... perhaps we should form our own book club E?  Anyway, back to the book.

When E reviewed the book she talked about how it resonated with her as a 40 (something) year old wife and mother.  She talked about how it had her questioning her direction and purpose.  Hell yeah.  "Dancing Backwards in High Heels" certainly does that.

It's about a 42 year old American woman who finds herself in Australia after her husband is transferred to Melbourne for work.  While he settles into the new job she is tasked with doing all things "household management" including finding a new school for their two boys, organising cars, utilities, finding a new family doctor, car repairers, dentist, supermarket, etc.  All the things that we take for granted when we're settled in our community had to be completely recreated and with a lack of friends and some major cultural differences to boot.  While she is doing all this she decides to do something for herself along the way.  She used to have a career, she was good at what she did and earned a great wage, but she gave it up to be a mother. It was a choice she is happy to have made but wouldn't it be nice to have a little something that was all her own? When she was young she used to dance, so when she stumbles across a Latin American dance studio she signs up (albeit with a great deal of trepidation).  Her renewed hobby becomes her outlet, a place where she can ditch the mother, wife and household manager labels and just be herself.  Her true, exciting, free spirited self.  As with many forays into "self-dom" the transition and balance wasn't easy. It created tension in the household (who is this woman, where is my wife, why is Mum doing this) and she found it difficult to embrace her roles of wife and mother with the same sense of purpose as she had before.  During the journey she faces a few temptations and choices that could have her careening in a completely different direction.

I tell you what, as seemingly simple and easy as this book was to read, it certainly tugged at me. As Christine Darcas writes of her character's feelings and thoughts and dreams I cried.  I mean, I have my life pretty well mapped out right now with loads of direction and lots of goals, but it wasn't always this way.  When I left my career there were a few years between then and now where I questioned my life's purpose.  I mean, I LOVE being a wife and mother, and I wouldn't change it for the world, but there were times where I would say "I know who Mum is, and I know who Wife is, who is Leanne?"  Even now with my direction firmly written in my to-do lists, journal and project management plans, I question what it's all about and whether or not it will ever come to fruition.  I wonder if in the tug-of-war of roles that fill my weeks the roles of Leanne the Author, Leanne the Business Owner, and Leanne just being Leanne will ever get the air time they need to really succeed.  As many hours as I try to give them, they are rarely ever uninterrupted.

Anyway, I could analyse and ponder and question this whole Deep Fried Fruit conundrum all day.  The bottom line is that "Dancing Backwards in High Heels" is a bloody good read and I highly recommend it for anyone in the 40 zone.  Even the men! At least they may get an insight into how their lady may be feeling ....

Has anyone else read it?
How many others are out there questioning their spot in this world?
What's your outlet?
Perhaps today we could all strap on our stilettos and have a little wiggle around the lounge room ....

Oh, and Cath, I need to buy you a copy.  Watching a Yank trying to learn all the Aussie-isms was funny.  You'll love it! There is even a whole page dedicated to magpies ....


Anyone wanna flog their blog ... or perhaps you just need a good Friday read ... head on over to Where's My Glow for a bit of Flog Yo Blog Friday ....

9 comments :

  1. Ooh - this may well be my Mother's day present to me...

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  2. Actually MM, I thought of you as I read it. I think there is lots in there you will be able to relate to. Big thanks to E for bringing it to our attention! There could well become an entire Dancing Backwards in High Heels movement :)

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  3. Sounds good, always on the look out for new books :) I love the books that speak to us on a personal level - I'm known for crying at books and my husband just doesn't get it. My claim to a rather pathetic fame, is crying after ONE PAGE of April Fools' Day by Bryce Courtenay.

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  4. That's a great review, it just got moved to my must read list!

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  5. Was already thinking of going and buying this book with my gift card I just received this week...looking forward to reading...I needed a new book...thanks for the review!

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  6. Hi Leanne,

    I am so pleased that Dancing Backwards in High Heels resonated with you! Thank you for sharing your feelings about it on your blog.

    With all good wishes,

    Christine Darcas

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  7. Happy reading everyone!
    And a visit from the Author herself!!! OMG. Now I'm blushing ....
    Thank YOU Christine .... your book nailed it :)
    Congrats!

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  8. Hey, I am so not 40 (something) yet!

    Glad you loved the book. Christine is a lovely person. I'm glad I had the opportunity to meet her. So very glad I picked up that book.

    Now, I'm just peeved that I didn't think to review it before I lent it to you L! LOL.

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  9. LOL - Whoops! Now I've blown it. I actually wondered about your age and made an assumption based on the age of your kids. (Shit)
    Didn't you review it E? Huh. I thought you reviewed it. How did I know about the book then? Another whoops.
    Looks like I'm the queen of whoops this week ...
    Forgive me?

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