Tuesday 4 September 2012

Book review : What I Did On My Midlife Crisis Vacation - Debbianne DeRose

I'm about to turn forty this year which, I guess, means I'm just about ripe for having a midlife crisis. Do women even have them ?! If you're a man - and I know I'm being stereotypical here - you can run out, spend a fortune on a shiny red convertible sports car and bag yourself a blonde bimbo trophy wife to show off in the passenger seat. But what do women do? Well, author Debbianne DeRose set off on a mystical journey of all things "woo" and What I Did On My Midlife Crisis Vacation is her humorous, tongue-in-cheek tale of her experiences.

In the book's introduction, she defines woo as "all that is intangible, inexplicable, paranormal, supernatural, gestalt or just plain ridiculous". That covers all the New Age-y stuff like energy healing, crystals, past life regression and a whole lot more way-out-there stuff that I'd never even heard of before. What she'd really like to discover is how to see the colours of people's auras and how to bend spoons, but the journey is more important than the destination. In a memoir that to me seemed reminsicent of expert people-watcher Bill Bryson, Debbianne tells us all about the weird and wacky or just plain inspiring people that she meets on her journey. She has exactly the right balance of scepticism and open-mindedness to make the writing have universal appeal, however much the reader personally believes in all that woo.

I must admit that as I progressed through the tales of her different classes, seminars and self-discovery workshops, they all started sounding a bit samey. Even the personalities of the people she meets start to blend into one - Debbianne herself says that so-and-so was reminiscent of another person she encountered at another retreat or that the guys in the group were perfect examples of the New Age, touchy-feely types - so very few of them actually stand out as really unique personalities.

There are lots of funny moments of incisive wit when she describes her fellow woo-hunters and I love her straight-talking style of writing to describe each new experience. It's just a shame that the different techniques that she discovers all start to resemble each other after a while - but maybe that's because I don't know my chakra from my elbow !

star rating : 4/5

RRP : £10.99

  • Paperback: 250 pages
  • Publisher: Piscaquarian Press (17 Feb 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0615526195
  • ISBN-13: 978-0615526195

Disclosure : I received a review copy of the book.

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