Just before her forty-ninth birthday, Joanna Donahue is having a mid-life crisis… the crisis being all she has is a life, an existence. She’s never really lived.
She’s spent thirty years in a marriage that never should have been and almost as long in a job where she’s little more than a worker bee in a hive. The one bright spot in her life is Jack, her twenty-nine-year-old son.
While making one last try to revitalize and save her marriage, Joanna realizes it’s hopeless, and not what she wants. Dull, boring, controlling David with his anger management issues will never be the man she needs him to be. Something she’s known for thirty years. A supermarket encounter with a sexy young man and a tube of K-Y Jelly makes her even more resolute.
Joanna’s journey is emotional, and at times hilarious. It’s also painful as she analyzes the relationships in her life and has to admit to herself she was complicit in solidifying her low self-esteem, in allowing herself to be a doormat, in never standing up for herself and putting herself first.
Although there were times I wanted to give her a good shake, I liked Joanna Donahue. Short and pudgy with a fondness for gin and chocolate, when she allows her true personality out of the box, Joanna shines. She has great support from Jack, and most of the time, from her sister, Hannah, and mother, Barbara. However, they all will experience the tribulations of life during Joanna’s journey.
But it is Gavin, the sexy young man from the supermarket, who will impact her life, the most and set her on a new path.
Life-changing and traumatic events occur during the story, and the author handles them with sensitivity, a light touch, and great writing. And humor. The well-developed characters had me wanting this read to go on and on. I’m a sucker for witty comebacks and great banter, and this read delivers.
By story’s end, Joanna’s journey isn’t over, but she is transformed, no longer accepting life as it comes, but shaping it to get the most from it. All of the characters also go through transformations, and Joanna is a part of each one.
Happiness is a Thing With Wings is stellar women’s fiction and a great read.
Joanna is approaching the end of her forties and the empty nest syndrome looms. She consoles herself with gin and chocolate, realising that apart from her son Jack, she has achieved absolutely nothing in her life.
Somewhat on the plus side of plump and barely five feet tall, she finds it difficult not to envy her younger, prettier sister. Such elevated elegance seems so unfair – as does Hannah’s successful marriage. Joanna, in contrast, has remained in a loveless marriage for the past thirty years, stuck in a rut with the most miserable man on the planet but not having the impetus to get out.
It takes an embarrassing but hilarious encounter in the supermarket to make her realise what she’s been missing. It’s exactly the push she needs to make her change her life. With a little encouragement, Joanna starts to regain her independence, finally leaving her grumpy husband to enjoy life as a single woman. As she attempts to rebuild her own future, her family and friends continually surprise her with their own revelations.
Life is never dull, laughter never far away; can Joanna finally find true happiness within herself at last?
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