Candace Bushnell in her latest book “Is there Still Sex in the City” brilliantly depicts the various escapades of Middle Age life and dating in today’s world. Following her divorce, Candace decides to move from the harsh reality of the City to a small town. Slowly one friend after another moves to this small town known as “The Village”. Eventually, a group of single Middle Age women are living within a few miles of each other.
Whether due to divorce, kids leaving home, or a spouse dying the book provides a venue for Candace and some of the characters to look back at their lives, and ask whether they did things “right” or “wrong”. Was it a mistake to leave the working world to raise children, or was it right not to have children, are just two examples. Examples of questions that women ask themselves in Middle Age which can lead to becoming existentially overwhelmed to the point of asking “What is the Meaning of Life?”.
Candace sometimes looks back with disappointment but knows that there are no “right” or “wrong” answers to these questions. Being a woman and Middle Age makes it even harder. Bushnell names the craziness that ensues at this point of life, “Middle Age Madness” (MAM). When a character goes through MAM, chaos occurs.. This leads to some interesting storytelling that is both laugh out loud funny and deeply moving.
The world is also different and daunting. Internet dating for example. One must learn the perks and pitfalls of dating Apps such as “Tinder”. Not knowing the rules can lead to trouble. Also, there are young men (CUBS) today who legitimately like dating older women. The term cougar is no more. Faces and bodies change and the desire to remain “looking young” provides a great comedic forum to do what Bushnell does so well, which is to make us laugh (and possibly cry at the same time.)
Despite it all though, most all of the women somehow get a second chance at something important in their lives. Whether they do it right or wrong the second time, no one will ever know the answers. But, as much as things change and life stages bring different challenges, some things remain the same. Who wouldn’t want a second chance?