Uprush, by Jo Barney ISBN 9781496004369
Five out of five stars
This book traces the lives of four women that became best friends in college, kept in touch over the years and have now reached the self-described position of cronehood. Which means that they are in their sixties, feeling and showing their age to various degrees. The temporal position of the narrative moves back and forth from events that took place in college to a meeting that they are having at Maggie’s beach house. Interspersed within this timeline are major events in each one of their lives.
In keeping with the social norms of the time (late ‘50’s), once they left college, their goal was to get married and have children. When that happened they quit working and lived the life of a wife and mother. Now their children are adults living their own lives and for some time they have been reflecting back on their lives and divorces, deaths, the relationships with their (step)children and the constancy of their friendship.
Madge is a successful novelist whose career is winding down. She is working on what she knows will be her last novel and needs the help of her friends to complete it. The lives of her friends after attending college in the late ‘50s is an integral part of the book.
There are many amusing points in the book, even though they are very low-key in the early years. Their sex talk while in college would have been quite risqué for the time, but in their sixties sounds quaint even to them. These women have a lot of mileage on them and they feel it, physically, mentally and emotionally.
Given the content of the story, the natural audience would be women in their older years where their children are adults and the men who sired them are out of their lives via one mechanism or another. However, the excellent way that the messages are delivered expands the audience to older people of the other gender. I found it very engaging as Madge and the girls look back on their lives and she tries to complete one last project. It is a story that all older people can relate to.