Thursday, September 23, 2010

Review: My Formerly Hot Life

I am likely the target audience for Dolgoff's memoir/self-help/humor book on getting older. That said, I found it difficult to relate to this book. Dolgoff's inspiration for this book was discovering that people no longer saw her as a young, hot, pick-up-able woman. Instead, she's trying to come to terms with the fact that she's become an average, perhaps boring, mom. Dolgoff's complaints about aging will likely sound familiar to most. Her metabolism has slowed, she can't stay out all night anymore, men no longer try to pick her up on the subway.

The purpose of this book is to let readers know that perhaps it's not all so bad. There are benefits to getting older. The problem is that I'm not sure that Dolgoff is actually convinced that it's going to be okay. It seemed as though the author was caught between feeling she had to present a silver lining and wanting to let her readers know that the cloud actually sucks. I also felt like I couldn't relate to many of Dolgoff's concerns. My friends and I don't have so many difficulties meeting for dinner, and we don't really care if the places we go are considered hot by everyone else. Maybe the issue is that I don't live in Manhattan. Maybe it's that I don't work in fashion.

Ultimately this struck me as a book that doesn't know what it wants to be. It's not funny enough to be a work of humor. It's not deep enough to be a memoir. This seems to be a problem that a number of blogs-to-books face. Some of the material in the book would be interesting and charming as a 1-2 page magazine article, but a 200-page book is overkill. It was difficult for me to get through this book, and I didn't feel like I left it with any additional insight.

Stephanie Dolgoff, My Formerly Hot Life: Dispatches from Just the Other Side of Young (Ballantine, 2010) ISBN: 0345521455

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