Facing Forty with Fear and Foibles

When men approach the age of 40 they tend to be just hitting their stride. When women hit age 40 things start going downhill or at least this is what the popular perception is in today’s culture. When we reassess, regress or mull over our regrets, inevitably we try to make changes like a new career, hobby or mate. For men it’s called a mid-life crisis and for women it’s the change of life! Men get better looking as they age, this is true, but women just look older, or is this accurate? It really is a shame that women are only being compared to teenaged models and young actresses. Why is this measurement our only hallmark of beauty? Our society values youth, being young, looking young and staying young is encouraged and even demanded for some jobs. Examples of this trend can be seen with the advent of Botox parties and the popular term ‘cougar’ for older women who pursue younger men. There’s an ad that plays on my local radio station that encourages their ‘mommy makeover’ with an insulting jingle that sings out, “Fall in love with yourself, Blue..... Surgery.”
What a wonderful message.

In the novel Aging with Grace by Greg Liberman the heroine is a middle-aged, middleclass housewife. Grace finds herself in a race against time trying to regain her looks on the cusp of 40. Grace is self-absorbed. Always pretty and popular in her heyday, Grace feels her looks are fading and her abdomen needs tightening. She looks to the superficial world of plastic surgery for her answer to happiness. Grace has regrets. She’s always wanted fame and fortune. She dreams of being an actress and a model. Grace is bored. She doesn’t appreciate her life or her family and she doesn’t have any true friends. Grace refers to Jim, her husband of 14 years, as a wimp. Grace is bitter. As a mother Grace has a strained relationship with the oldest of her two daughters; a belligerent teenager who is taking notes from her mother.
Grace’s recipe for disaster starts with reconnecting with a high school friend on a social networking site called MyFace. Grace, being a competitive gal, finds herself jealous of April. Her fashion photographer friend has a lavish lifestyle full of celebrities, parties and glamour. She meets Victor at one of April’s parties, dabbles in illicit drugs and eventually involves herself in leading a double life. Victor presents himself as a powerful man with serious connections in the movie biz but it’s not the movie connections that Grace should be concerned about. Victor is not the man she believes him to be. Grace is lured into his lair with a lifestyle of luxury and promises of fame and fortune. Grace weaves a web of deceit and rationalization and eventually gets caught up in her own lies.

“Just two weeks ago, she was whiling away her time as bored housewife. Today she had flown across the country too ready to have an affair with some rich Hollywood type she barely knew.”

Grace does not live up to her name. Grace is self-absorbed, catty, vindictive, spiteful and basically a heartless, hateful biatch! She's a character that can be hard to take but you’ll love to hate! Do you remember Joan Collins as Alexis in the 80’s drama Dynasty? That's who comes to my mind. Isn’t everything 80’s coming back in style? I can imagine Aging with Grace being developed into a movie with the now 40-something Heather Locklear playing Grace and someone like heartthrob Antonio Sabato Jr. in the role of Victor. Locklear starred in a recent movie called Flirting with Forty based on the book Flirting with Forty by Jane Porter. In Flirting with Forty the newly divorced Jackie sets off on a much needed vacation to Hawaii. She meets surf instructor Kai and falls for him despite the age gap between them. Who cares right? He makes her feel desired and young. Back at home in Seattle, Jackie's bubble bursts with the reality of her new role as a single parent and fielding the flack from her judgemental friends. Book or movie, worth the read or watch.

Back to Aging With Grace, I won’t give any of the plot but I can say that I kept waiting for Grace to get what was coming to her! Eventually reality hits, right? Much like chick lit is set up to do - take the reader away on a fantasy ride- Grace lets Victor take her on a ride but where is he taking her? Aging with Grace (Booksurge, 2009) is a cautionary tale; a warning to watch what you wish for or you might just get it!
As we age we also hope to sage with time. Grace needs to look a bit closer at herself and not in the mirror for flaws but inward to find her truth and happiness. I must say that Author Greg Liberman writes chick lit like no man’s business! It’s encouraging to hear from the author that he's been giving some thought to writing a sequel to Aging with Grace. It seems Grace has not quite learned her lesson! Liberman has set up a
blog where readers can provide feedback. Liberman was featured as a guest author at The Book Faery Reviews. The novel is available on and also available on so get yourself a copy and enjoy getting to know Grace!