Why We Can't Sleep: Book summary and reviews of Why We Can't Sleep by Ada Calhoun

Why We Can't Sleep

Women's New Midlife Crisis

by Ada Calhoun

Why We Can't Sleep by Ada Calhoun X
Why We Can't Sleep by Ada Calhoun
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Book Summary

A generation-defining exploration of the new midlife crisis facing Gen X women and the unique circumstances that have brought them to this point, Why We Can't Sleep is a lively successor to Passages by Gail Sheehy and The Defining Decade by Meg Jay.

When Ada Calhoun found herself in the throes of a midlife crisis, she thought that she had no right to complain. She was married with children and a good career. So why did she feel miserable? And why did it seem that other Generation X women were miserable, too?

Calhoun decided to find some answers. She looked into housing costs, HR trends, credit card debt averages, and divorce data. At every turn, she saw a pattern: sandwiched between the Boomers and the Millennials, Gen X women were facing new problems as they entered middle age, problems that were being largely overlooked.

Speaking with women across America about their experiences as the generation raised to "have it all," Calhoun found that most were exhausted, terrified about money, under-employed, and overwhelmed. Instead of being heard, they were told instead to lean in, take "me-time," or make a chore chart to get their lives and homes in order.

In Why We Can't Sleep, Calhoun opens up the cultural and political contexts of Gen X's predicament and offers solutions for how to pull oneself out of the abyss―and keep the next generation of women from falling in. The result is reassuring, empowering, and essential reading for all middle-aged women, and anyone who hopes to understand them.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"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." - Library Journal (starred review)

"An assured, affable guide, Calhoun balances bleakness with humor and the hope inherent in sharing stories that will make other women feel less alone. She also gives good advice for finding support through midlife hardship." - Booklist

"Calhoun persuasively reassures Gen X women that they can find a way out of their midlife crises by 'facing up to our lives as they really are.' Women of every generation will find much to relate to in this humorous yet pragmatic account." - Publishers Weekly

"Much of the book is devoted to demonstrating the suffering of 'her' generation: 'Gen X women undergo a bone-deep, almost hallucinatory panic about money,' she writes...Calhoun is on firmer ground when she discusses the stressors that affect middle-aged women in general...An occasionally amusing and insightful but scattershot exploration of midlife woes." - Kirkus Reviews

"Ada Calhoun's soulful investigation into the complex landscape women in midlife face today is downright stunning. Calhoun has captured the voices—some broken, some resilient, many barely staying afloat—of over 200 women from around the country and in doing so, shown us how much we share in divisive times. You will recognize yourself in these pages, breathe a sigh of relief, and think, I'm not alone." - Susannah Cahalan, author of the New York Times bestselling Brain on Fire

"It's difficult to grapple with the immense anxiety and fear so many women go through alone, but Ada Calhoun's artistry as a writer makes her the perfect guide through the rough business of middle age." - Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill

This information about Why We Can't Sleep was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Ada Calhoun

Ada Calhoun is the author of the memoir Wedding Toasts I'll Never Give, named an Amazon Book of the Month and one of the top ten memoirs of 2017 by W magazine; and the history St. Marks Is Dead, one of the best books of 2015, according to Kirkus and the Boston Globe. She has collaborated on several New York Times bestsellers, and written for the New York Times, New York, and the New Republic.

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